Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mid-air Collision Over Sharonville

As most folks in the area have already heard (and likely many more since it was also on the national news), there was a mid-air collision yesterday between two general aviation planes a few miles north of the Cincinnati Blue Ash airport. That's the airport I fly out of. Three pilots were killed -- unable to control their planes after the collision. A very sad, tragic accident on a clear, beautiful day. I was surprised to hear the news of the collision. However, I was even more shocked when I found out I knew one of the pilots involved in the accident, Ted Hitchens.

You can read more about the accident in articles on all the local news sites. I found a couple articles on the Cincinnati Enquirer site and the WLWT site. The Enquirer also has photo sets of one plane and the other plane. The photos of the wreckage speak for themselves.

I first met Ted at work. He and I were on teams for a few osteoporosis projects before he retired a few years ago. I stopped by his cube one day many years ago and noticed all the aviation items decorating his work space. We got talking and I found out he was also a pilot and furthermore, an instructor. Ted was a very warm, personable guy who always enjoyed talking about aviation. He did charity flights for people needing medical treatment and was also involved in the air safety foundation. He was part owner of a twin engine plane and for awhile after I first bought my plane, our planes shared the same hangar at Blue Ash. I saw him a lot then, but I hadn't seen him much since he retired. The last time we talked was about a year ago when he stopped in at work to say hello to some folks. Of course we talked about flying. It's terrible he died in such an accident, while doing something he was so passionate about.

When news of the accident broke, I got instant messages and phone calls from several friends and co-workers checking to be sure I wasn't involved. Thankfully not, and thanks to all for your concern. Now we just need to keep the families of all the pilots involved in this tragic accident in our thoughts and prayers.

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