Taipei--The first Taiwanese pilot to fly across the world on a single-engine airplane died Friday after the small plane he was operating crashed at San Gabriel Valley Airport in El Monte, Los Angeles, Taiwan's Foreign Ministry confirmed Saturday.
The deceased is Jeffrey Ying (???), 63, the first pilot from the Chinese-speaking community to fly across the world on a single-engine airplane in July 2010.
Ying, a Taiwanese expat, had been running a fleet of planes with his friends in the U.S., who also had flown the aircraft annually to perform in Taiwan's National Day celebration events at Monterey Park since 2011, according to James Bu (???), head of the Chinese American Pilots and Aircraft Owners Assoc.
The crashed plane had a Republic of China (Taiwan) national emblem painted on the fuselage, and was similar to a decommissioned trainer of the country's air force.
The cause of the crash was likely related to mechanical problems, the ministry said, adding that it will provide whatever assistance necessary for the victim's family.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the single-engine Pazmany PL-2 began to depart from runway 19 at San Gabriel Valley Airport about 9:30 a.m. local time, but crashed shortly afterwards.
Video broadcast by local TV news outlets from the scene at a corner of the airport showed the aircraft's nose flattened at an angle and its left wing crumpled.
Ying, who had more than 2,000 hours of flight experience, acquired the PL-2 which was similar to the model used in Taiwan's air force, many years ago, Bu said.
Ying remodeled the plane to give it the looks of the Taiwanese trainer and painted its code 5858 on it by himself, Bu said.
In 2010, it took Ying and his wife Renee Chen (???) 82 days to fly 26,000 miles across 26 coutries in the world. Ying became the 166th person in history to accomplish that endeavor, according to Chinese-language newspaper United Daily News.
Ying had loved the idea of flying from an early age and had even built his own turboprop while he was still in vocational school in 1978, the newspaper said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel