Monday, October 28, 2013

Virgin Islands Port Authority scraps 4 planes

Captain Kirby Hodge

 Piper PA-23-250 Aztec B, Island Birds, N5553Y:  Accident occurred October 13, 2012 in Charlotte Amalie, United States Virgin Islands 

Tribute to Captain Hodge:
 "This a tribute to the late Capt. Cardigan Hodge, my cousin.   His greatest passion was flying the King Air (N467BW)! His legacy will continue on! R.I.P Capt. Hodge."

 ST. THOMAS - The V.I. Port Authority was starting to become a graveyard for run-down planes, until last week.

The authority has scrapped four planes after it was unable to sell the aircraft. The planes were rusted and dilapidated, according to port authority spokeswoman Monifa Marrero.

The planes have been sitting at King Airport for "years," Marrero said, though she was not sure how many years each had been there.

"We tried to sell the planes four times, but no one wanted them," Marrero said.

Two of the planes had owners that had passed away and since have been left to the authority, while the other two were planes abandoned after their owners discontinued payments.

One of the planes was the Piper Aztec flown by veteran pilot Kirby Hodge. The twin-engine plane went down Oct. 13, 2012, in waters about eight miles south of St. Thomas.

The plane was returning to St. Thomas from St. Croix with three passengers - Rachel Hamilton, Dawin Carr and Valerie Thompson. Thompson was the only survivor.

The three other planes included a DC-3, a Convair 560, and a Cessna, according to Marrero.

The DC-3 had been owned by Four Star Air Cargo, which went bankrupt in 2009. The airline was based in Puerto Rico and served both the U.S. and the British Virgin Islands.

The Cessna was owned by Levette Ruan, who ceased making payments to the airport.

The owner of the Convair 560 had passed away.

In the future, the authority is going to make more of an effort to sweep old planes off their property in a quicker fashion, Marrero said.

"We'll follow the same procedure, but get it done quicker next time," she said.

On Friday, the authority also purchased a private plane that marshals had confiscated from St. John's Andy Greaux after he stopped making payments for the plane in 2011, Marrero said.

The authority purchased it for $1,300 so that it could remove the plane from its property.

The authority hired Charlie's Trucking for the contract job, though Marrero did not know how much the authority paid. 


King Air 100 Tribute Fly-Over Capt. Kirby Hodge's House:

"King Air 100 Tribute Fly-over Capt. Kirby Hodge's House After Takeoff in Anguilla. Went Around Twice but is not shown in the video. Operated By Rainbow International Airlines and Anguilla Air Express. N467BW S/N sorry for the bad camera angle at times..." 

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