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Salı, 28 Mayıs 2024

Pilot killed in crash ‘well known’ in aviation community


The close-knit aviation community lost a pilot — Paul Pangborn, 76 — in a fatal helicopter crash Sunday afternoon.
The pilot from Midland died after the 1965 Brantly Hynes model B-2B helicopter he was flying crashed in a Lee Township field at about 2:48 p.m., according to the Midland County Sheriff’s Office.
Pangborn’s grandson, 16-year-old Devon Schweinsberg, was the only passenger. He sustained minor injuries.
Pangborn was a 1959 Midland High School graduate, and served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War.
The Facebook page for Pangborn Marine Inc. — which he was owner and operator of — posted Sunday night that "Hours will be varied this week, please understand. We appreciate your patience during this difficult time."
He was "well-liked and respected as a certified pilot" around the Jack Barstow Municipal Airport, said fellow pilot Dave Schmelzer.
Schmelzer is from Midland and said he has been flying airplanes for 52 years. Pangborn was a regular at Jack Barstow airport, Schmelzer said, and also flew fixed-wing airplanes.
Before the crash, Pangborn flew the aircraft eastward toward North 11 Mile Road, then headed north to West Olson Road, deputies said. The helicopter began to to fly west, but rotated, and for unknown reasons started to slowly descend. The aircraft crashed in a field near the corner of North 11 Mile and West Olson roads.
Pangborn and Schweinsberg were taken to MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland. Pangborn was later pronounced dead. Schweinsberg was treated and released.
"Paul was at the airport regularly, was a very friendly man, always very willing to help (other pilots) in any way he could," Schmelzer said.
Pangborn’s family didn’t comment on the incident, and is asking for privacy, according to the sheriff’s office.
Flying is safer than driving a car, Schmelzer said, and serious accidents are rare.
"We’re very sad for the loss, in a close-knit community like this. He’ll really be missed. It leaves a hole in what we do here."
Pangborn is survived by his fiance, Joanne Jolliffe, son Jon Pangborn, daughter Janis Schweinsberg, stepdaughter Jacqueline Haller, stepson Chris Jolliffe, and brother Ken Pangborn. He also had nine grandchildren and three great-grand children.
Funeral services will take place at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Wilson Miller Funeral Home. An obituary is in today’s Daily News.

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