Air Safety Institute’s Richard McSpadden Dies In Crash

The AOPA senior vice president was in a Cessna Cardinal that went down after takeoff in New York.

Richard McSpadden, the senior vice president of the AOPA Air Safety Institute, died along with one other person in the crash of a Cessna 177RG near Lake Placid Airport (KLKP) in upstate New York on Sunday.

McSpadden was in the right seat. Russ Francis, a former NFL tight end and the new owner of Lake Placid Airways, was in the left seat according to the Lake Placid News. AOPA spokesman Eric Blinderman stated that early reports indicate the Cardinal had “an emergency on takeoff” from Lake Placid shortly before 5 p.m. EDT.

“They tried to get back but didn’t make the runway,” said Blinderman.

The nature of the emergency wasn’t immediately known. Blinderman said more information will be available on Monday.

McSpadden was a former commander of the USAF Thunderbirds air demonstration team and joined the Air Safety Institute in 2017. He was well known in the GA community for his analyses of accidents and the safety-related content he and his staff created for free distribution. He was also highly regarded by his many friends and colleagues.

“We are beyond heartbroken,” said Blinderman. “This is the worst kind of news to process as a friend, colleague and fellow aviator.” He is survived by his wife, Judy, son Grant and daughter Annabel.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on AVweb.com.


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