Sunday, December 14, 2014

Titan Tornado II, N50402: Fatal accident occurred December 14, 2014 near Walnut Hill Airport (58VA), Calverton, Virginia

Benjamin Hummel, 33, Woodbridge, Va., formerly of Indianola 

Benjamin James Hummel was born on the glorious day of Aug. 25, 1981. His parents, Alan and Pamela Hummel, excitedly introduced him to his big brother, Joshua Hummel. Ben loved life and lived it to the fullest. He was taken away from us to live with the Lord on Dec. 14, 2014.

Ben grew up in small towns in Iowa and Minnesota. At the age of 8 he was diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension and lived, briefly, in St. Louis, Mo., awaiting a bilateral lung transplant. A new life was breathed into him at 13 years of age and after that he took full advantage of all life had to offer. He graduated from Kaneland High School in Sugar Grove, Ill., in 2000 and attended Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Ia. He held many jobs, ranging from car salesman to contract security and from retail to conservator of the peace. Ben loved doing anything outdoor, but especially flying his many aircraft, playing airsoft or paintball, riding his dirt bike and quad through the Arizona desert, relaxing on the beach, all things Cub Scouts and anything involving his wife and son.

Ben met his wife, Bonita Hummel, in Indianola, Ia., in 2000. The two were married in San Angelo, Texas, on April 22, 2004. From there they began living the military lifestyle — living together in Texas, Virginia, Arizona and Washington, D.C. The two welcomed their baby boy, Landon Pilot, on Jan. 26, 2006. At that point, Ben began fulfilling his most prestigious, fulfilling and rewarding job: Dad.

After a few brief health setbacks and a kidney transplant in March 2014, Ben was healthy and happy to be able to do all the things he loved again. He had a magnetic personality and was a funny, kind, caring and loyal individual who could make friends anywhere and keep them for life. Ben, Bonita and Landon weathered many storms together, but always pulled through with faith, hope and happiness for a better future.

He is survived by his wife and son of Woodbridge, Va.; his mother and father, Alan and Pamela Hummel of Indianola, Ia.; his brother, Joshua (Arin), nephew Jonah and baby niece of Des Moines, Ia.; grandparents Arnold and Wilma Hummel of Akron, Ia. and Carol Russell of Le Mars, Ia.; many aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters/brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews, extended family and dear friends. He is preceded in death by his brother Lucas and maternal grandfather Robert Russell.

Ben’s family would like to thank the family of the young man who found hope in tragedy and provided a new set of lungs to Ben in 1995 and to Shelia Swartwood, who selflessly donated one of her kidneys to him in 2014. Without you all, the world would not have known such a great husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend.

A celebration of life will be held on Thursday, Dec. 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Dale City, Va. There will be a second celebration of Ben’s life on Monday, Dec. 22 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Trinity United Presbyterian Church in Indianola, Ia. A time of sharing will begin at 4 p.m. at the church. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to help pay for Landon’s future college education or in Ben’s memory to an organ donation organization of your choice. 

Online condolences may be made at

Event Type: Accident
Highest Injury: Fatal
Damage: Destroyed 
Activity: Personal 
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF) 
Operation: 91

A single-engine, fixed-wing plane crashed near a field south of Catlett at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, killing its pilot.

State police, Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office and the Catlett’s Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad responded to a call of an airplane crash.

The Titan Tornado II crashed at about 12:30 p.m. near a home in the 10,000 block of Shenandoah Path. 

The pilot, Benjamin J. Hummel, 33, of Woodbridge, Va., died at the scene. He was the plane’s only occupant. No one on the ground was injured in the crash, said Corinne Geller, spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police.

"According to witness accounts, it appeared as if the plane was experiencing engine trouble just before it crashed," Geller said.

Sgt. Franz Mahler of the state police said the pilot may have been trying to conduct an emergency landing in a nearby field, but was not able to reach it.

"Thanks to local residents providing witness accounts and four-wheel drive vehicles, emergency responders were able to successfully locate and access the remote crash site quickly," Geller said.

The Virginia State Police, National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration officials are still investigating the crash.

The last fatal plane crash in Fauquier County happened on Memorial Day of 2012, when two small private aircraft collided in mid-air over Sumerduck.

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