The plane that former Blue Jays and Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay was flying when he was killed on November 7 is known to have been involved in the deaths of at least two other people since it went on sale three years ago.
The ICON A5, a sleek, single-engine amphibious plane, is referred to as a “jet ski with wings.” About 20 planes have been sold since 2014.
Halladay was flying the aircraft along the Florida Gulf Coast when it went down. He was the first consumer known to have died while flying the aircraft. In May, the plane’s head designer, Jon Murray Karkow, and the company’s director of engineering, Cagri Sever, died in the same plane in a crash in California. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, that fatal crash was caused by pilot error.
ICON Aviation said in a statement that it would assist the National Transportation Safety Board with the investigation and that its executives and employees are "devastated" by Halladay's death.
"We have gotten to know Roy and his family in recent months, and he was a great advocate and friend of ours," the statement said.
Stephen Pope, editor-in-chief of Flying Magazine, told the Associated Press that the low-flying plane is potentially dangerous when flown over water, and he had concerns about Halladay’s level of experience with flying.
“They still think that that’s the way the airplane should be flown, and there are people in aviation who completely disagree with that,” Pope said. “They think you should not have a low-time pilot flying low over the water. That’s a recipe for disaster.”
Like his father, Halladay had a love for flying, but he had promised he would not take up the hobby until he retired, which happened in 2014. He had long dreamed of owning his own plane, and frequently took out friends and family for joy rides.
In a video, Halladay’s wife, Brandy, said she had reservations about the aircraft when he first bought it, she said she understood why her husband enjoyed the aircraft so much.
"I went down with him one day to the training center in [St. Petersburg], and they said, 'Oh, you want to go up for a ride?'" she said. "I got up in that plane, I looked over, and I said, 'Okay, I get it. I get it. This is amazing.' You forget that you're in a plane. You're just there and you're experiencing the beauty of Florida or the water or the lake or wherever you are."
There was another ICON A5 crash in April, on the coast of Florida. The occupants were injured, and the pilot said the aircraft was much faster than expected.
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