Saturday, November 14, 2020

Accident occurred November 14, 2020 in Macclenny, Baker County, Florida

A 53-year-old Jacksonville pilot was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after his homemade aircraft crashed Saturday night in Baker County.

The pilot was in critical condition when rushed to the hospital following the 5:40 p.m. crash at 14670 Florida 121 about 4 miles north of Macclenny, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

The Highway Patrol said the pilot, whose name wasn't released, was alone when the 2000 single-engine aircraft crashed. Nobody on the ground was injured, state troopers said.

The pilot was flying east from a hangar behind Mount Zion Church on Florida 121 when the airplane lost power, according to the Highway Patrol.

He turned the aircraft around to fly back to the hangar when the aircraft started to rapidly descend. The nose of the plane struck the ground injuring the pilot, according to the Highway Patrol.


An unregistered ultralight vehicle crashed in Baker County Saturday, according to Baker County Sheriff’s Office.

The incident happened near Highway 121 North, just 4 miles north of Macclenny and less than 2 miles away from the Georgia border.

According to BCSO, the ultralight vehicle was flying East from a hangar behind Mt. Zion Church near State Road 121, when it lost power. That’s when the 53-year-old pilot tried turning the vehicle back to the hangar, but started to rapidly lose altitude instead. As a result, the front of the vehicle struck the ground.

The pilot was seriously injured in the incident. His identity has not been revealed yet.

News4Jax obtained videos of the aftermath as emergency crews tended to the scene. A red mangled vehicle can be seen in the background.

The FAA was called to the scene, but said they will not investigate the incident because unregistered ultralight vehicles are not considered aircraft.

BCSO is investigating the crash.

We are working on finding more information. As soon as we know more, we will update you on

Owls Head to hold hearing Monday on Knox County Regional Airport (KRKD) agreement

OWLS HEAD — Owls Head will hold a public hearing Monday afternoon at 3 in the lower level of the community building to receive comments about a proposed new agreement with Knox County concerning future development at the airport.

The public hearing is required prior to holding a special town meeting.

Selectmen are scheduled to decide Monday afternoon whether to hold a town meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, November 30th that would authorize the Board of Selectmen to sign the new agreement.

That agreement would then go to the Knox County Commissioners for a vote.

The intent of the agreement is to have the town and county cooperate in the regulation of the growth and development of the Knox County Regional Airport within the town.

Owls Head Selectman Gordon Page said his personal opinion as a private citizen, Owls Head resident and taxpayer, is that he is comfortable with the agreement.

"As an elected member of the select board, I voted with the other two select board members to unanimously approve the final revised document for presentation to the voters at the special town meeting scheduled for the 30th of November. The matter of the proposed interlocal agreement will be decided by those in attendance at the town meeting on that date," Page said Saturday.

The current agreement in place was approved by the town and county in 2001

Airport Manager Jeremy Shaw said Saturday that he supports having an agreement in place, however, he maintains the current interlocal agreement conflicts with Federal Aviation Administration's guidance.

"The spirit of the original agreement (which opponents of the airport identify with) is that the town has the final say in any matter regarding growth at the Knox County Airport. The FAA has claimed the ultimate authority to dictate what the airport has to comply with in regards to safety measures for the national airspace system. That includes safety areas, management of lands surrounding approach paths, and even expansion as we saw in years past." Shaw said.

The proposed new agreement, Shaw said, recognizes the FAA’s authority, and creates a joint board made up of representatives of both the County and the Town to deliberate actions taken by the airport in the coming years.

"Without the passage of the proposed interlocal agreement, the county would most likely issue a 90 day notice to terminate, as articulated in the current agreement, because it is not compatible with current FAA guidelines and would place the airport in violation of grant assurances it has made over the last 15 years with the Airport Improvement Program," the airport manager said.

The proposed new agreement, however, is opposed by some town residents.

Jared Schmelzer said Friday the "County not only is acting completely contrary to the Interlocal Agreement, they are acting here to weaken if not remove the Town from any future control over growth of the Airport and the impacts to the community of Owls Head."

"While the FAA has authority regarding its personnel and operations and specific responsibilities, the FAA does not have authority over nor to impose FAA regulations on a Town or County," Schmelzer said.

Alva Regional Airport (KAVK) receives $1.7 million for taxiway rehab

The Alva Regional Airport will be delaying Phase 2 of the airport apron and ramp project. Funding for a different project has been found that will narrow and rehabilitate the old runway into a taxiway. In a letter to the city, engineer Toby Baker of CEC said the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC) has worked with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to identify $1.7 million of additional funding outside of what the Alva airport normally receives.

The OAC has hired CEC to prepare a preliminary engineering report for that project under a contract directly with them. This does not impact the city’s available funding. The engineering report should be complete in mid-2021.

The city will have their normal ten percent match to the design-only grant, but the OAC will pick up half of the city’s match to the large construction grant in fiscal year 2024. Based on the OAC’s initial estimates, the city will need a total match of $116,667.

The project will narrow the former runway to a standard taxiway width, rehabilitate its pavement and install base mounted LED taxiway lights with its cabling in conduit.

Airport Commission member Paul Kinzie said this project would push the ramp project off a couple of years, but when the airport can get the state to pay for the work, it will be worth it. He made a motion to approve the revised airport capital improvement plan, seconded by Kelly Parker, and it passed unanimously.

The airport commission met Monday, November 9th. Chairman Dale Logsdon led the meeting. Terry Turner and Calleb Mosburg were present in addition to Kinzie and Parker.

Airport Manager Derrick Courson reported the airport’s fuel pump was found to be in violation of Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) regulations. He said the dispenser portion of the pump will have to be replaced. The fuel pump does not show the price per gallon and the total price of fuel dispensed.

Courson said a representative from Hoidale provided a quote on a new dispenser for the fuel pump. It will cost about $7,500 and will require services of an electrician to hook it up. The cost should be no more than $10,000. The OCC gave the airport a deadline of November 30th but is aware it may take more time to get the equipment.

Parker made a motion, seconded by Kinzie, to authorize the airport manager and the city business manager to proceed with obtaining the replacement dispenser and installation and decide how it should be handled in the budget. The motion was approved.

In his report to the commission, Courson said both phases of the ODALS installation are basically complete and ready for final inspection. He said a jet came in recently and the pilot commented on the new approach lighting system.

Fuel sales dipped in October at the airport but seem to be rebounding in November. One jet that makes trips from New Jersey to Scottsdale has already booked six stops at Alva for refueling. Each stop will be a sale of 400 to 500 gallons of fuel. Courson said they like Alva’s prices and service. The airport has already sold 1,800 gallons of Jet A fuel in November, he said.

At the end of the meeting during board comments, Logsdon said after the recent snowfall he noticed that snow was not cleared to the fuel pumps. The runways had snow bladed off, but the cleaned area was not wide enough to get off the runway and to the fuel pumps. One concern is that when helicopters can’t fly in for medical transport, a fixed wing aircraft may be used and landed at the airport. Then access would be needed to the plane. He asked Courson to check this when city employees come out in future to clear the runway.

Yuset Hernandez, Team Eagle: Fatal accident occurred November 13, 2020 near Keystone Heights Airport (42J), Bradford County, Florida

Yuset Hernandez

BRADFORD COUNTY, Florida – A skydiver who was practicing for a weekend event that honors the families of fallen police officers died Friday when his parachute didn’t deploy correctly during a jump, according to Maj. Brad Smith with the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office.

Nick Perdomo with Team Eagle identified his teammate as Yuset Hernandez, 51. The team is comprised of seven men, all originally from Cuba. Perdomo said Hernandez had been jumping for 30 years. To honor their friend, Team Eagle wants to see a competition jump in Starke.

“We just wanted to give back thanks to law enforcement," said Perdomo. “Yuset was very big into what he considered his country and this was a way of giving back -- to jump with flags on behalf of all the fallen officers.”

Smith said the Sheriff’s Office and Bradford County Fire and Rescue were sent to search a wooded area surrounding the Keystone Heights Airport at about 5 p.m. Smith said a skydiving team that was participating in the Krawl’n for the Fallen event was doing practice runs.

“And the very last jump that they were doing, one of the skydiver’s chutes didn’t deploy fully,” Smith said. “We had it on video where you can see where he released that chute and was trying to open a secondary chute and wasn’t able to get it open in time.”

After a few hours of searching a wooded area surrounding the property, rescue crews announced sometime after 8 p.m. that the skydiver’s body was located.

“Skydiving was one of his passions. He loves fishing, and his life with his daughter and grandson that he leaves behind in Cuba,” said Perdomo.

His teammates said Hernandez was the first Cuban to win a medal in the United States for an accuracy night jump. He was born in Cuba and moved to Miami in 2003.

The Krawl’n for the Fallen event runs throughout the weekend. Hernandez was honored Saturday morning when his team received a folded flag during the event’s opening ceremony.

A statement on the Krawl’n for the Fallen Facebook page reads:

"Today at Krawl’n for the Fallen we suffered a horrible tragedy.

During routine skydiving practice for tomorrow’s opening ceremony one of the jumpers had an issue with his primary parachute. He cut away and deployed the second but landed in very dense overgrowth area.

We had boots on the ground within seconds and many responses from multidisciplinary agencies including Shands Air.

Video footage from the jump was able to help the emergency crews narrow the grid. He was located and it was announced he had passed from his injuries.

We want to thank everyone that helped with the rescue and recovery.

The sky diving team 100% want to jump tomorrow and honor their friend. We are hoping to make that happen for them.

Please join us in sending prayers and sympathy to his family and friends."

Krawl'n for the Fallen

According to Smith, there were over 150 people, including civilian volunteers, who assisted in the search.

Off Road United Foundation is expecting up to 2,500 people for the weekend event, which features off-road trails and obstacles. Dozens of people were camped out with Jeeps and off-road vehicles on Saturday, including multiple law enforcement agencies, as well as survivors and family members of fallen officers.

Ravn Alaska takes off with pared-down schedule as it plans to expand future destinations

On Friday the 13th, Ravn Alaska launched its first flights in seven months after shutting down in April. The schedule is slimmed down while Ravn waits for regulatory approval.

The air carrier has had a tough year. Back in April, RavnAir Group stopped flying and filed for bankruptcy. Employees were let go. Hangars were sold and Ravn’s competitors picked up many of the planes that flew to more than 100 Alaskan communities, from Kaktovik to Kotzebue to King Salmon.

A deal was cobbled together in a Delaware courtroom this summer. Some of the carrier’s assets were sold to a California entity called FLOAT Shuttle.

FLOAT Shuttle isn’t operating anymore, but its CEO, Rob McKinney, has taken the reins at Ravn Alaska. With a new executive team and a fleet of 10 de Havilland Dash-8 planes, McKinney and his team aim to serve a much smaller group of communities, including Dutch Harbor, Sand Point, Homer, Valdez and Kenai.

Four of the five destinations have not had any scheduled air service since April. But Kenai has up to 15 daily flights to Anchorage with Grant Aviation.

Ravn Alaska is waiting for the U.S. Department of Transportation to grant scheduled route authority. In the meantime, Ravn is offering public charter service from Anchorage to its launch destinations.

Other companies have used the public charter option to serve Anchorage. Back in the 1980s, Morris Air flew public charters to Seattle, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles before getting its own operating certificate in 1992. During the same time, Hawaiian Vacations offered public charters between Anchorage and Hawaii. Alaska Airlines purchased Hawaiian Vacations in 2007 when Alaska inaugurated its nonstop Anchorage-Honolulu service.

Travelers who are familiar with flying on the Dash-8 won’t notice a big difference on board the aircraft, aside from having a pre-assigned seat on the plane. And right now, because of COVID-19, all travelers must wear a mask.

But making reservations is different. Ravn set up a separate entity, Ravn Travel, to make reservations for the public charter flights. No online reservations are permitted yet. All travelers will be required to complete an operator-participant agreement. Take a moment to read the agreement. There are several interesting rules:

1. When you pay for a reservation, all funds are deposited in an escrow account. Ravn receives the funds after travel is completed.

2. All fares are fully refundable, unless you fail to cancel your trip at least 60 minutes ahead of your flight.

3. Passengers are permitted two checked bags, up to 50 pounds each.

Another rule pertaining to public charters is that only four round-trip flights per week are permitted between each city pairing. But the specific number of flights will vary by destination.

For example, between Anchorage and Kenai, Ravn will operate one flight on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, departing at 8 p.m. There’s an additional flight on Thursday mornings at 8 a.m. The cost is $79 one way, compared with Grant’s $110 one-way fare.

Flights to Homer start at $99 one way, departing at 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Anchorage-Valdez flights start at $99 one way, departing at noon on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Dutch Harbor is an important destination for Ravn. Flying from Anchorage in a Dash-8 means passengers likely will stop for gas along the way in either King Salmon or Cold Bay. “But we’re not selling tickets to either of those destinations right now,” said Dennis Kitchens, Ravn’s chief commercial officer.

Tickets to Dutch Harbor start at $549 one way, although there’s a discounted fare of $399 one way if you live in Dutch Harbor.

If you’re thinking of visiting Dutch Harbor, think again. “There’s a two-week quarantine mandate,” said Carlin Enlow, head of the Unalaska/Port of Dutch Harbor Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It’s nice to have options,” she said, regarding Ravn’s new service. “We’ll just kind of wait and see for now.”

Travelers to Sand Point also have been without nonstop service to Anchorage since April. Now, the community will have two weekly flights, on Mondays and Fridays, priced from $549 one-way.

In April and May, residents of both Sand Point and Dutch Harbor had to charter a plane to get to Anchorage. Starting in mid-May, travelers could fly on Grant Aviation from either Sand Point or Dutch Harbor could fly on Grant Aviation to Cold Bay to pick up Alaska Air’s nonstop 737 to Anchorage. Still, there are lots of moving parts. First, travelers had to purchase a separate ticket on Grant, then connect in Cold Bay.

“We feel it’s going to be a short process before we receive our scheduled route authority,” Kitchens said. “We plan to serve St. Paul Island when we receive scheduled route authority." St. Paul Island, in the middle of the Bering Sea in the Pribilof Islands, is another destination that’s been cut off from regular air service since Ravn’s shutdown in April.

Kitchens has a long list of communities Ravn would like to service once it gets that valuable scheduled route authority, including Fairbanks, Aniak, St. Marys, Unalakleet, King Salmon, Cold Bay and Dillingham.

Piper PA-28-236 Dakota, N8106P: Incident occurred November 11, 2020 in Carson City, Nevada

Carson City Fire Department and sheriff's deputies were called Wednesday afternoon to an emergency aircraft landing that happened in a field near Fremont Elementary School.

The incident was reported at around 12:30 p.m. Both the pilot and passenger were not injured and were walking around. The plane is a single engine, according to first responders on scene.

According to a battalion chief who spoke with the pilot, the plane apparently experienced engine failure and was able to make an emergency landing in a field near the school. The plane did not appear to have had any damage.

The FAA has been contacted and is evaluating whether the status of the incident should be labeled technically an emergency landing or a crash landing.

One witness said via social media that before the landing the pilot had tried to land on the freeway. A bystander near the scene of the crash noted he heard the plane's engines cut off when he was on William Street and came to the scene to see if everyone was safe.

The cause is under investigation.

Early Wednesday afternoon, Carson City Sheriff's Office (CCSO) responded to reports of a small airplane that landed in a field behind Fremont Elementary School.

CCSO says the plane experienced engine failure and the pilot was able to make a safe, emergency landing.

Neither the pilot or the passenger were injured. There was no reported damage to the plane.

CCSO Sheriff Ken Furlong says the crash is not being investigated.

He says the plane is now being repaired.

Warrenton, Oregon: Nighttime deer hunts at Astoria Regional Airport (KAST)

WARRENTON — The Port of Astoria got city approval for nighttime hunts to kill deer causing a danger to aircraft at the Astoria Regional Airport.

Gary Kobes, the airport manager, said the Port has 10 kill permits from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and more available if needed.

The Port of Astoria received permission to kill about 10 deer that have entered the Astoria Regional Airport and caused a danger to aircraft.

“I got a call from the Coast Guard about a week and a half, two weeks ago, that there were eight or 10 deer out on the runway one night, and went out the following night and, in about an hour’s time, spotted nine or 10 deer,” Kobes told the City Commission Tuesday.

Deer are considered dangerous to aircraft when inside a fence surrounding the runways. A Learjet from the Canadian military struck an elk in the early 2000s and caught fire. Everyone escaped, but the plane was destroyed, Kobes said. The port has erected a fence and cattle guards on roadways around the airfield to keep animals out.

“I don’t know whether the deer were inside the fence, and they multiplied over time, or they somehow found a way through, which is just as likely,” Kobes said. “We’ve never seen any more than a couple out there at any one time, but apparently, with the sighting and my observation, the count is significantly high (and) we need to get it down.”

Volunteers will begin hunting in the coming week at night with spotlights to avoid people on the Airport Dike Trail, Kobes said. The hunts could happen over several weeks, he said, and the meat will be distributed to food banks.

The City Commission also gave police permission to shut down the Airport Dike Trail during hunts and post signs to notify the public. Kobes said he will coordinate the hunts with Police Chief Mathew Workman, who said he expects a flood of calls in response to the gunfire.

The nighttime hunting will also help avoid bird hunters, who are allowed by state law within three specific areas in city limits using shotguns and steel pellets. Warrenton code also allows the discharge of firearms on private property with permission from the police.

“There’s only a few places in town for you to have a range like some people do, (where) they build up a berm and it’s done safely,” Workman said. “Then yeah, you can do that within the city limits. We’re kind of unique that way.”

Cessna 152, N757PY: Accident occurred November 13, 2020 near San Bernardino International Airport (KSBD), California

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.  

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Riverside, California

Location: San Bernardino, CA
Accident Number: WPR21LA055
Date & Time: November 13, 2020, 20:04 Local
Registration: N757PY
Aircraft: Cessna 152
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Positioning

On November 13, 2020, about 2004 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 152, N757PY, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near San Bernardino, California. The pilot sustained a minor injury. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

In a telephone interview with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge, the pilot reported that he was repositioning the airplane from Chino Airport (CNO), Chino, California, to Earnest A. Love Field (PRC), Prescott, Arizona. The pilot stated that after takeoff and during the initial climb through 6,000 ft mean sea level and about 20 nautical miles northeast of CNO, the airplane’s engine began lose power. Unable to maintain altitude, the pilot performed a forced landing about 1.5 nautical miles southwest of the approach end of runway 6 of the San Bernardino International Airport (SBD), San Bernardino, California. The airplane sustained structural damage to both wings and fuselage as a result of the impact sequence.

The airplane was recovered to a secured storage facility in Phoenix, Arizona for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N757PY
Model/Series: 152
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: NightDark
Observation Facility, Elevation: SBD,1159 ft msl
Observation Time: 19:59 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 14°C /6°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 6 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.12 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Chino, CA (CNO) 
Destination: Prescott, AZ (PRC)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 34.07504,-117.27141 (est)

San Bernardino County Fire

Just after 8:00pm, San Bernardino County Fire’s crash station at San Bernardino International Airport was notified by the control tower of an incoming aircraft with a declared emergency.  A pilot had announced an engine failure with intentions to land on Runway 6.

While units were responding, the control tower stated it had lost both radio and visual contact with the aircraft approximately one mile southwest of the field.

With no additional 911 calls to assist in locating the site, fire units began a hasty search of the industrial properties in the area.  San Bernardino Sheriff’s helicopter, 40-KING, was requested and ultimately located the incident in the Santa Ana riverbed near East Cooley Drive and Cooley Court.  

Firefighters hiked to the scene and located an adult male trapped in a Cessna 152 which had sustained heavy damage during the crash.  The victim was removed from the wreckage and carried out to additional personnel.

There was no post-incident fire.  

A fuel leak was mitigated before it had the chance to travel into the river.  

Conflicting reports led to a search of the area for an additional victim before confirmation was obtained that the pilot was in fact the sole occupant. 

The victim was transported to an area trauma center for treatment of potentially life threatening injuries. No additional injuries were reported to firefighters or civilians.

SBCoFD responded with five engines, one truck company, an ARFF crash rig, one water tender, a HazMat team, and two chief officers totaling 31 personnel. 

The scene has been turned over to San Bernardino City Police Department with notifications to the FAA and NTSB. 

San Bernardino County Fire
Date/Time: November 13, 2020 8:02pm
Location: Santa Ana River near Cooley Ct, San Bernardino
Incident: Off-Airport Aircraft Crash Incident#: 20-259829

SAN BERNARDINO, California (KABC) -- A small plane crashed in San Bernardino Friday night, leaving at least one person injured.

The crash was reported sometime around 8 p.m., but responding firefighters did not find any fire once they found the wreckage in a wash behind some buildings on the 800 block of E. Cooley Avenue.

The small aircraft was found a few miles from San Bernardino International Airport, but officials did not specify whether it was attempting to land there or if it had just taken off.

One person was pulled from the plane with a head injury and was taken to nearby Loma Linda Hospital. Additional details about his condition were not immediately available. It's unclear if anybody else was on board the aircraft when it crashed.

SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA) — A small plane crashed just south of the San Bernardino International Airport Friday night.

According to preliminary reports from the scene, the pilot of the plane was alive and conscious and told authorities a second person was onboard, though authorities later said it appeared that the pilot was, in fact, the only one aboard.

The pilot reported to the airport that he was having some sort of mechanical issue, before losing contact with air traffic controllers, according to preliminary reports.

It was not immediately clear what caused the crash.

Peter Spradling: "It just was not my time to die"

Van's RV-6A, N48PS

Peter Spradling

A foggy Saturday morning brings with it many runners, joggers and dog walkers traversing the neighborhoods of Victoria. Among them is Peter Spradling, an example of unbreakable spirit in overcoming physical strife every day.

He greets other joggers, takes inventory of the neighborhood’s cats — making sure to give them a scratch — and pushes to walk 2-3 miles through his neighborhood and the Lone Tree Hike and Bike Trail every day, steadily improving since being rendered immobile after a traumatic accident earlier this year.

A 73-year-old retired U.S. Air Force endodontist, Spradling fosters hobbies ranging from photography to tinkering with electronics, but chief among them is piloting his personal aircraft — an RV-6A kit plane he built over the course of 18 years with his wife Sandy.

“Often we would take the morning and go to places like Fredericksburg to get breakfast at the fly-in diner next to their airport,” Spradling said. “A lovely way to spend the morning, I’d say.”

When performing a pre-flight condition inspection earlier this year, he was struck by the propeller of his plane at the Victoria Regional Airport. Gravely injured and bleeding profusely from impacts on his head and arms, his wife called 911 to request assistance.

Spradling said he does not remember much but recalls making a conscious decision not to succumb to his injuries.

“When I was lying on the ground bleeding, it occurred to me that it would be very easy to just lay there for five more minutes, and I wouldn’t be here anymore,” Spradling said, recounting that hot July morning. “I just remember telling myself, ‘Nope, you’re still alive. You’re going to get better, and you’re going to fight through this.’”

In addition to the life-saving measures taken by Victoria EMTs on-scene and in-transit to Citizens Medical Center, he received a whole blood transfusion in lieu of a more traditional saline solution — a pioneering treatment implemented by Victoria EMS a little more than a year ago. This greatly increased Spradling’s chances at survival, Victoria Fire Department Battalion Chief Tim Hunter said.

“It’s hard to say, but I would say the blood played a critical role in saving his life along with some of the other treatments we used,” Hunter said. “With the amount of blood he was losing, it is very possible he might not have made it to the hospital alive.”

Spradling was thankful.

“Due to their professionalism and timely response, I’m still alive and making a slow recovery,” Spradling wrote in a November 2nd letter to the editor for the Victoria Advocate. “I want everyone involved to know we are extremely grateful for their response and their professionalism in everything they did in my time of need.”

From the Citizens Medical Center Level II trauma center, he was flown by helicoptered to Brooke Army Medical Trauma I center in San Antonio. Over the course of a month, he underwent six surgeries aiming to restore his arms to working condition.

Returning home, a small group of friends has worked together to help Spradling with once-simple daily tasks that are now challenging.

“People have volunteered and have expressed their interest in giving them things to eat and making trips to the grocery store,” Carl Chance said, a fellow pilot and close friend of Spradling’s. “We want them to know they’re not on their own.”

Spradling currently sees Ed Kimes, an occupational therapist who specializes in hands, wrists and elbows, three times a week at Citizens HealthPlex. Kimes said Spradling’s case is interesting because of the variety of treatments used during a single session.

“There’s a lot going on,” Kimes said. “We’re working with edema, range of motion. We’re massaging. It’s a very unique case, and he has done very well.”

Spradling and Kimes often banter during their sessions, lighting up the room and showcasing the pilot’s good spirits during the long healing process.

“Of course, I can’t pull rank over his head because he is a doctor, and he’ll correct me a bunch of times,” Kimes said with a smile. “He’s a blast to work with.”

Spradling said he is happy to be alive and is motivated to push through any challenges for his wife Sandy.

“It just wasn’t my time to die, and I decided I’m going live for my wife,” Spradling said. “I am just beyond thankful for my friends that have really come through in my time of need, some of which have gone above and beyond.”