February 24, 2006
When you're in the air and the only thing between you and the ground is the thin skin of a small plane, being well-trained is very important. Jim Lampman from Virginia Aviation said the training and licensing process to become a pilot is quite extensive.
The plane that went down Thursday night was a Cessna 182D. It's a four seat aircraft with a cruising speed of about 120 miles per hour. Lampman called it one of the safest and most reliable private planes ever built.
To fly this kind of plane the pilot has to meet general aviation licensing requirements. He or she must be 17 years old, pass a flight physical, a written exam, and complete a number of in-flight skills, including emergency landings.
Trainees can be licensed after just 35 hours of training, although most complete between 40 and 50 hours, if not more. There are student licenses, where a pilot can fly alone after only 12 hours of training as well.
From what the Newsplex has learned, the pilot in the Augusta County accident would have completed all of these requirements. Friends and family say he was an experienced flier.
About 22,000 Cessna 182D's have been produced worldwide.