SPRING HILL, Florida -- A wooden cross and flowers sat facing the street in front of Pilot Country Airport one day after an Ultralight aircraft crashed into power lines before landing. The pilot, 53-year-old William Athey, was killed upon impact.
Athey's family, along with fellow pilots and the manager of Pilot Country, did not want to talk on Monday. They're still too stunned by his passing.
Pilots are also concerned about how incidents like this one, and one just hours later on Sunday that killed 50-year-old Ultralight pilot Christopher Washington at Hernando County Airport, affect the general perception of aviation. They stress that it's very safe, especially with the correct training.
Ultralight aircrafts are often built from a kit. The planes typically weight 254 pounds or less, carry up to five gallons of fuel at a time, and have just a single seat. A pilot's license is not required to fly them, and the Federal Aviation Administration doesn't require an airworthiness check. Appropriate instruction and practice is highly recommended.