TRUCKEE (AP) — Officials have identified a 66-year-old pilot killed in a Truckee plane crash as a Northern California emergency room doctor who was leaving for a humanitarian medical mission in Mexico.
Nevada County coroner’s officials say James Richard Ungar of Yreka was killed on impact when his Piper Comanche hit a hangar at the Truckee-Tahoe Airport shortly after takeoff Thursday morning.
An Auburn-based nonprofit called Los Médicos Voladores, or The Flying Doctors, says Ungar was a volunteer pilot who flew doctors to Mexico and Central America.
The group’s spokesman, Adrian Fenderson, says Ungar had two passengers aboard the single-engine aircraft when he attempted and aborted a takeoff.
Fenderson says Ungar was concerned there wasn’t enough lift and told the passengers to leave the plane before he made his ill-fated second takeoff.
“It just didn’t look right,” said Kevin Smith, the airport’s general manager. “It had a hard time climbing and there was an apparent loss of control, whatever it was.”
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.)