Crew identified in first fatal jet crash at Truckee Tahoe Airport
The airplane that crashed Wednesday at the Truckee Tahoe Airport was the first jet accident with fatalities at the airfield.
Two pilots were the only people on the twin-engine Learjet that had taken off from Twin Falls, Idaho, and was scheduled to pick up two passengers in Truckee.
The crew members have been identified as Jonathan Martin, 40, a father of four, who has been flying for about 10 years, and Brett Karpy, 34, of Eighty Four, Washington County, Pa., according to the newspaper, in Washington, Pa.
The Karpy family had celebrated the pilot’s birthday while vacationing in Florida about two weeks before he returned to his job at Skyward, Brett Karpy’s father, William, said.
Dave Gotschall, manager of the Truckee Tahoe Airport, said the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report on the accident should be completed in 30 days and a final report finished in one year.
“It is really unfortunate that something like this happened,” Gotschall said. “Aviation is an industry that prides itself on safety.”
Wayne Pollack, an accident investigator with the NTSB office in Los Angeles, was on his way to the crash scene on Thursday. He and experts from other areas of the country will be examining what’s left of the plane’s airframe, avionics and engines to determine the cause of the crash. The weather conditions at the time of the accident and the company that owned the plane will also be studied, he said.
The last two fatal crashes at Truckee Tahoe Airport occurred in 2003 and 1997 and involved prop-driven planes.
Richard Marlow, 70, was killed and his wife Beverly, 65, critically injured in a plane crash at the airport on July 4, 2003. Five Bay Area residents died in a crash on May 11, 1997 in a Beechcraft Bonanza.
In Wednesday’s crash, Gotschall said four members of his staff witnessed the jet’s approach to the runway. One person said,
“What’s he doing?” Gotschall said he then turned and saw the fireball.
Prior to that, Gotschall said the pilot made contact with the airport’s communication system that he had the airfield in sight. Gotschall said the plane’s approach was normal.
“There was no indication of any distress,” Gotschall said. “It was just very unfortunate.”
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Over the past year, various “keep out” signs have appeared near the Hirschdale Bridge, causing concerns for river users. Those concerns led to a community meeting last week