Friday, July 13, 2012

Pilot Mark Chevallier dies in aerobatic training exercise near Rocky Mountain House

A 36-year-old man is dead after a plane he was piloting crashed late Thursday afternoon near Rocky Mountain House. 

Mounties in Rocky Mountain House say local pilot Mark Chevallier was “engaging in an aerobatic training exercise” when his Pitts S1S plane crashed into a wooded area near the Rocky Mountain House airport sometime around 4:30 p.m.

He was the only person in the plane, say Rocky Mountain House RCMP.

John Cottreau, a spokesman with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, says investigators will launch a probe at the crash site early Friday.

The weather, said Cottreau, will be an aspect of the investigation as Rocky Mountain House was under an Environment Canada severe thunderstorm watch throughout most of the afternoon.

“Mark Chevallier crashed his plane today and passed away,” said Brenda Jill Fodness in a public Facebook status update.

“(He was) an amazing man and friend — heart-breaking.”

Chevallier went to high school at Will Sinclair High in Rocky Mountain House, according to his Facebook page.

The Pitts planes dominated aerobatic competitions in the 1960s and 1970s.

The planes — according to Wyoming-based Aviat Aircraft Inc. — are designed for airshows.

Rocky Mountain House is about 225 km southwest of Edmonton. 

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