Witnesses say the aircraft encountered an issue in flight, leading to the crash. The crash site was in a residential area not far from the team’s home airport, the Republic Airport in Farmingdale, NY. Video taken immediately before the crash shows the aircraft in a spin as it approaches the ground.
Nobody on the ground was injured. The fire was quickly extinguished by local and airport fire crews.
Ken is a second generation Skytyper. His father, Bob is also on the team. Ken first flew with the Skytypers at the age of eight. The team’s website says he caught the aviation bug early in life from his father. Ken graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1989 and earned his Navy wings in 1991.
He went on to fly P-3 Orions on both coasts with VP-23 and VP-46. His career also took him to the Netherlands, where he flew P-3s with the Royal Netherlands Navy from 1996 to 1998. Ken opted to transition from active duty with the Navy and was quickly hired by TWA, where he flew MD-80s, 757s, and 767s. After giving up his active duty status, Ken was also hired by VR-52 in Willow Grove, PA, as a Navy Reserve Instruction Pilot flying DC-9s around the world. Recently, he was the Commanding Officer of VR-58 in Jacksonville, FL, flying C-40s (737-700s) throughout the world. He leaves behind a wife and two children.
An investigation is underway involving the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
The GEICO Skytypers are well known for their skytyping and airshow demonstrations. Using their WWII-era SNJ trainers, they create words in the sky the size of the Empire State Building.
The team performed last weekend at the Bethpage Airshow at Jones Beach, very close to the crash site, and was scheduled to perform this weekend at the NAS Patuxent River airshow in Maryland.
AirshowStuff extends our condolences to the family, friends, and teammates of Ken.