Thursday, January 14, 2021

Beechcraft F33A Bonanza, N266DC: Fatal accident occurred January 13, 2021 near Jim Hamilton - LB Owens Airport (KCUB), Columbia, Richland County, South Carolina

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Columbia, South Carolina 

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances into a house. 

Inviro-Tec LLC

Date: 13-JAN-21
Time: 11:22:00Z
Regis#: N266DC
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: F33
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 1
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: APPROACH (APR)
Operation: 91

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email 

 Farhad Rostampour

Some people are scared of flying. Farhad Rostampour flew his own plane around the world in protest of an authoritarian, religious regime.

Some people don’t like to drive too fast. Farhad Rostampour rocketed over a lake on his jet ski in a homemade hang glider experiment.

Some people dream of being their own boss. Farhad Rostampour was about to celebrate his company’s 30 year anniversary.

“He used to say, ‘You know there’s three kinds of people in the world’,” Robert Kelley, Rostampour’s friend and business partner, said. “’There are people that watch things happen, people that make things happen and people who say what happened.’

“He always wanted to be the person who made things happen.”

The 62-year-old Rostampour died Wednesday after his single-engine plane crashed in the Rosewood neighborhood during a flight from Greenville to Columbia.

He flew the same plane around the world.

Kelley remembered Rostampour as an adventurous, gutsy, outspoken and proud Iranian-American.

“If it was heart stopping, he was up for it,” Kelley said.

Rostampour was born in Iran and grew up in the capital Tehran, according to a post he wrote for a site that documented his flight around the world.

He lived through Iran’s revolution in 1979 that transformed the country into a religious based republic.

He immigrated to the United States, where he enrolled in 1982 at the University of South Carolina at its Spartanburg campus. He studied biology and graduated in 1984, according to a USC spokesman.

His desire to carve his own path led him to leave the company he worked for in the late 1980s. He and Kelley formed their own company in 1991.

The company, ETT Environmental, which does water quality testing, is going to celebrate its 30th anniversary in business this year.

Throughout their more than four decades of friendship, Rostampour always expressed pride in his Persian heritage, Kelley said

It was during his childhood in Tehran when Rostampour first thought of becoming a pilot. He would stare beyond the tops of the buildings in the inner-city.

“I always had dreams of flying freely above the clouds,” Rostampour wrote.

At 43 years old, living in the United States, he realized that dream. He earned his pilot’s license.

“He always had a passion to see the people in his native land regain their freedom from government oppression,” Kelley said.

He combined his passion for flying with his rebellious stance against the Iranian government in 2007 as he prepared for a flight around the world.

Rostampour, along with an Iranian-British co-pilot Arshid Moti-Ghavanin, called their trip the “Freedom Flight.”

On June 2, 2007, they took off from Greenville, flew up the coast to Philadelphia to visit the Liberty Bell before going to New York to fly over the Statue of Liberty. From there, they departed to cross the Atlantic. They landed in cities across Europe.

On the third leg of his flight, Rostampour flew into Iranian air space, Kelley said.

Kelley remembered Rostampour talking about the dangers of flying over the country. Flight controllers in the country radioed into Rostampour, asking what they were doing in the country.

“They were very suspicious as to why an American registered plane was flying over their country,” Kelley said.

Rostampour spoke in Farsi to the controller and explained he was Persian. “They said go ahead then,” Kelley said and the flight continued over the far east and Pacific.

Rostampour stopped in every continent except Antarctica in the 47-day, 39,000-mile flight. He landed back in Greenville on July 18.

He and his co-pilot were the first Iranian-born fliers to circumnavigate the world, the Freedom Flight site says.

Rostampour and his co-pilot hoped the circumnavigation would “encourage the young generation in Iran to bring about changes that seem difficult to achieve,” he wrote.

“Whether these achievements are changing the political direction of our country, or changing personal ideology toward the goal of achieving a better future,” they said

Rostampour lived with the same adventurous spirit on the ground that he had in the air. He loved traveling and skiing, according to social media profiles.

And he loved riding his jet ski fast, according to Kelley.

Kelley remembered when Rostampour built his own hang glider. He called Kelley out to a Greenville area lake and explained that he wanted Kelley to strap into the hang glider. He was going to pull Kelley behind the jet ski and get him into the air.

“I said ‘no way, I’ll drive the jet ski’,” Kelley said.

But Rostampour told Kelley he drove the jet ski too slow. Of the pair, Rostampour was the one gutsy enough to get the jet ski up to the speed needed to lift the glider into the air.

They struck a compromise. Kelley held the glider on the shore and released it as Rostampour raced over the lake. The hang glider flew a little while then broke up in the air, Kelley said.

After the failed experiment, Rostampour told Kelley it would have worked but the weight was thrown off without someone in it.

Rostampour also had the same instinct to stand up against what he saw as growing injustice and oppression in the United States. He participated in the Women’s March in 2017 to advocate for women’s rights.

“I was born in Iran, and I lived through the revolution,” Rostampour told The Bitter Southerner. “I watched many similarities during the revolution and what’s really taking place here today. One of the first things we lost was women’s rights, which was always followed by human rights. I’m hoping that we can shed a light on seeing beyond our skin color, beyond our gender. We are the same people.”

Rostampour has two daughters. He was marching for them, he said.

On Friday, the Freedom Flight website that documented his flight around the world issued a statement from Arshid Moti-Ghavanin, Rostampour’s co-pilot in the circumnavigation.

“It’s upsetting to hear about the loss of a fellow pilot, but also an old friend,” he said. “It will be hard to process Farhad’s sudden death, but he will be proud to have built a legacy that will live on for many more years.”

In a video put out Thursday, Moti-Ghavanin took out a cigar. They carried the cigar with them around the world, he said. They were supposed to smoke it together when “Iran is free from the Islamic regime and happiness belongs to everyone.”

He lit the cigar in salute to his friend.

“Farhad passed away doing what he loved,” the Freedom Flight site now says, “in the aircraft that made history.”

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