Two people died in a plane crash Friday morning at the Ken Jernstedt Airfield in Hood River.
According to a Hood River County Sheriff’s Office press release, both occupants were confirmed deceased at the scene.
The sheriff office said that, at approximately 10:09 a.m. on Sept. 6, a single-engine Super Cub crashed on take-off. Witnesses reported hearing the engine cut out, at which point the plane nosed down and turned to the right before striking the ground at a steep angle.
Matthew Titus, the 56-year-old pilot out of Turlock, Calif., and his passenger, 55-year-old Ben Davidson of Hood River, were both pronounced dead at the scene, said the press release.
Two Lifeflight helicopters had been called to the scene, according to scanner reports during the incident.
“The individuals were part of the WAAAM family,” said West Side Fire District Fire Marshall Jim Trammell Friday afternoon.
He said that the plane was going to be a part of the WAAAM (Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum) annual Fly-In, which took place Saturday and Sunday.
“During this difficult time, the outreach to the immediate family and WAAAM from not only our volunteers, but both our local community and the pilot community has been incredibly heartwarming,” said Stephanie Hatch, WAAAM assistant director. “They all rallied so that we could have the event that they would have wanted us to have. Despite tragedy and bad weather, they made the Fly-In a success.”
Both Davidson and Titus were involved with the museum; while Titus lived in California, Hatch said he had been to all of the WAAAM fly-ins, coming up to volunteer.
Hatch said the museum will issue a press release regarding the Fly-In and crash in the near future.
“We are so sorry to say that we lost a tremendous family member yesterday,” wrote Davidson’s niece, Lisa Perry, on Facebook; Perry is a local farmer who operates the Cody Orchard Farm Stand in downtown Odell. “Ben was a super uncle to us and will be so greatly missed. His can-do attitude made him a favorite among friends and family. His big heart and loud voice will go down in history as one-of-a-kind. Uncle Ben loved the skies and we will always look up and think of him.”
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were notified and will assume primary responsibility for investigation of the crash, according to the sheriff’s office.