Saturday, August 07, 2021

North American T-6G Texan, N7197C: Fatal accident occurred August 04, 2021 in Starkville, Oktibbeha County, Mississippi

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 traveled to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Jackson, Mississippi

Gary D.  Dedeaux

Location: Starkville, MS 
Accident Number: CEN21FA355
Date & Time: August 4, 2021, 15:20 Local
Registration: N7197C
Aircraft: North American T-6G 
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Posted on Kathryn's Report
On August 4, 2021, about 1520 central daylight time, a North American T6G airplane, N7197C, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Starkville, Mississippi. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The airplane was not equipped with an ADS-B transponder; however, a preliminary review of air traffic control (ATC) radar track data revealed that the airplane departed runway 36 at McCharen Field Airport (M83), West Point, Mississippi, and continued toward the south-southwest where it made a series of maneuvers near the accident site. The final radar return was recorded at 1518 about 0.15 mile west of the accident site. The pilot was not in contact with an ATC facility during the flight.

A witness located in house nearby, heard the airplane’s engine and stepped outside. She saw the airplane, which was low. The airplane disappeared behind some trees before an impact with terrain was heard.

Ground scars and wreckage were consistent with a steep angle through trees before impact with terrain. The main wreckage was near its initial impact point on a heading of about 105°. The wreckage was confined near the impact point among the trees.
Posted on Kathryn's Report

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: North American
Registration: N7197C
Model/Series: T-6G 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KGTR,264 ft msl
Observation Time: 15:56 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C /19°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear Wind 
Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 340°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: West Point, MS (M83) 
Destination: Starkville, MS

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 33.51525,-88.689389 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290.

Douglas Luke Reed, age 13
November 5, 2007 - August 4, 2021

Mr. Gary Douglas Dedeaux, age 65
March 31, 1956 - August 4, 2021

Starkville, Mississippi - Luke Reed, 13, passed away on August 4, 2021 in eastern Oktibbeha County. Luke was born November 5, 2007 in Starkville to Gina Dedeaux Reed and Tommy Reed. He was a student at Oak Hill Academy going into the 8th grade this year. Luke was a member of Faith Baptist Church.

Luke had an extremely compassionate heart for people. He loved helping and giving to others in need. One time he won a gun raffle that was raising money for a lady that was ill in the community. Instead of accepting the winning gun, he sold his ticket and gave the money to the person for which the raffle was being held. Luke was an avid Motor cross rider. When confronted by Coach Ferguson concerning playing football at Oak Hill, he simply said “I really like to ride my motorcycle”, to which Coach said that he could do both. Luke again said that he really liked to ride his motorcycle. Luke was very mechanically inclined being able to disassemble and reassemble anything to make it work. He enjoyed flying and learning to fly airplanes with his grandfather as well as driving tractors and doing farm stuff. He loved operating remote controlled cars with his brother Lane.

Funeral services will be Thursday, August 12, 2021 at 2:00 PM from Calvary Baptist Church in West Point, MS. with Reverend Jim Garner officiating and assisted by Brother Ben Yarber. Burial will follow in Memorial Gardens in West Point. Calvert Funeral Home of West Point is in charge of the arrangements.

Survivors include his parents; Tommy and Gina Dedeaux Reed of Starkville, one brother Thomas Lane Reed of Starkville, Maternal Grandmother; Glenda Dedeaux and Paternal Grandparents; Joe Reed and Mitzi Hendrix. Luke was preceded in death by his grandfather; Gary Douglas Dedeaux.

Pallbearers will be Jason Gilliland, Mark Pridmore, Steve Portera, Adam Ray, Gary Davis and Dale Ruth.

Honorary Pallbearers are Marty McDaniel and B. J. Johnson.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or to a Charity of Choice.

Visitation will be from 11:00-2:00 prior to service time.

Friends may leave an online condolence at

West Point, Mississippi - Gary Douglas Dedeaux, 65, passed away, on August 4, 2021 in eastern Oktibbeha County. Gary was born March 31, 1956 in West Point to the late Ruth Murray Dedeaux and Dr. Howard Dedeaux. Gary was a very successful entrepreneur and business owner of Gary’s Pawn and Gun of West Point and Columbus for 43 years. He was a member of Faith Baptist Church. Gary married Natalie Stafford Dedeaux on January 1, 2014 in Portersville, Ms.

Gary was a humble, considerate and giving man. He gave in ways nobody will ever know and he wanted it that way. Gary loved his family deeply. Of all of his hobbies, his love for flying was very close to the top of the list. Other things he enjoyed were shooting, racing dirt cars for a while and driving his tractor doing farm work. Gary was a godly man who lived his life in a way that pointed others to Christ. He supported all law enforcement agencies and served the City of West Point proudly as a Selectman.

Funeral services will be Thursday, August 12, 2021 at 2:00 PM from Calvary Baptist Church in West Point, MS. with Pastor Doug Stokes officiating, assisted by Brother Ben Yarber. Burial will follow in Memorial Gardens Cemetery in West Point, MS. Calvert Funeral Home of West Point is in charge of arrangements.

Survivors include his wife Natalie Dedeaux of Cedar Bluff, MS; one daughter, Gina Dedeaux Reed (Tommy) of Starkville, MS, one son, Richard Stafford of Cedar Bluff, MS; one grandson; Thomas Lane Reed. Those preceding him in death were his parents, one daughter; Ginger Dedeaux Bryan and one grandson; Douglas Luke Reed.

Pallbearers will be Larry Fretz, Joe Murray, David Orman, Mike Fretz, Mike Pearson, Andy Pearson and Ty Bissett.

Honorary Pallbearers are Jim Thigpen and Larry Barnett.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or to Itawamba Crossroads Ranch, 716 Airport Road, Fulton, MS 38843.

Visitation will be 11:00-2:00 prior to service time.

Friends may leave an online condolence at

STARKVILLE, Mississippi (WTVA) - The Federal Aviation Administration officials were onsite Thursday to investigate the plane crash that killed two people the day before in Oktibbeha County.

The crash killed Luke Reed, 13, and his grandfather Gary Dedeaux after the North American T-6G Texan aircraft they were flying crashed near Camps Airport Road.

 The crash happened in Oktibbeha County on Aug. 4, 2021. The crash killed two people. Source: National Transportation Safety Board.
On Thursday Oktibbeha County EMA Director Kristen Campanella shared an image of the crash site.

She said an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board took and approved the image for public release.

Investigators will look into all aspects of the plane, its pilot and the weather at the time of the crash.

The investigation could take one to two years to determine the official cause of the crash.

Dedeaux was a well-known businessman and operated Gary's Pawn and Gun, which has locations in West Point and Columbus.

He owned the vintage plane.

“Gary was probably one of the rare individuals that the Lord put on this Earth to be an example to follow," said Dedeaux's friend of 20 years, Randy Jones. "It’s hurtful to say the least that we’ve lost him because he had so much more to give the community.”

Reed attended Oak Hill Academy in West Point.

“Our school is broken-hearted,” Principal Phil Ferguson said. “We’re broken-hearted for the family. We’re broken-hearted for our students. It’s just not supposed to happen for a 14-year-old [age is 13]. You’re supposed to start the excitement of the school year. It’s gone.”

Gary Dedeaux and his “crew chief” and CAFB Wingman Carlos Rosales beside Dedeaux’s AT-6 Texan I in the Mallory Hangar at Columbus Air Force Base. This 1942 airplane is the type of single-engine trainer used at the base for pilot training during World War II.

The roots of the U.S. Air Force run very deep in the Golden Triangle. Columbus Air Force Base opened in 1942 as Kaye Field of the Army Air Corps but the town had been seeking an air base since the early 1930s. Even earlier, nearby West Point was home to Payne Field, a World War I pilot training base. Other military sites date back to 1813. The area has played a role in several of the great moments of military aviation history.

The last couple of days have been extra special at Columbus Air Force Base. Special Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 14-14 graduated and the annual Air Force Birthday Ball celebrating the 67th birthday of the United States Air Force was held. The theme was Heritage to Horizons and focused on both the unbelievably talented people who have passed through the base and the new, soon to be great, pilots who just graduated. Guest who spoke at events included Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Lt. General Stephen Wilson Commander, Air Force Global Strike Command. General Wilson had previously served as wing commander at Columbus from 2004 to 2006.

It was in 1918 that Payne Field opened on 533 acres about four miles north of West Point. The field in its short two-year existence trained about 1,500 pilots in its 125 Curtis JN-4 “Jenny” aircraft. Airplanes were new to the town’s people who were said to have called them “buzz wagons.” The base closed in March of 1920.

During its short life Payne Field played an important role in an aviation milestone. In January 1919, Maj. Theodore Macauley made the first transcontinental round trip flight. His airplane was a de Havilland DH-4. Major Macauley was accompanied not by a co-pilot but by Private Staley, a mechanic. The airplane’s propeller was damaged flying through a thunderstorm in Alabama and it landed at Payne Field where the field’s “propeller shop” fabricated a new propeller enabling the flight to continue.

The area was also home to a number of World War I pilots. Among them was Capt. Sam Kaye of Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker’s famous 94th “Hat in the Ring” Squadron. By the end of the war Kaye commanded the squadron’s First Flight. Kaye’s Spad airplane became known as his “Acrobatic Easter Egg,” as he had painted it light blue with white and red polka dots. Columbus Army Air Field was first named Kaye Field in his honor but the name was change because of confusion with Key Field in Meridian. Upon learning of the change, Rickenbacker, then president of Eastern Airlines, wrote a letter expressing his disappointment that the field was no longer named after his old friend.

Col. Wilfred Beaver was a World War I British pilot turned World War II American pilot who settled in Columbus after World War II. As a British pilot he was credited with 19 confirmed victories over German aircraft. He was awarded the “British Military Cross” at Buckingham Palace by King George V in 1918. The citation called him “a patrol leader of great dash and ability.” He received the award not long after he had survived being shot down over his own airfield by one Freiherr von Richthofen, the “Red Baron.”

On Oct. 8, 1924, the first transcontinental airship flight passed over Columbus. It was the silver, two-and-a-half city block long navy Zeppelin, the USS Shenandoah. Just west of Columbus the airship passed over Crawford. A reporter for the National Geographic was on board and wrote about the warm greeting the Shenandoah received there with people even waiving white tablecloths at them. The older citizens of Crawford recall the day they thought they were being attacked by a ship from outer space and white cloths were waved in surrender.

One of the most interesting people to have served at Columbus was “Joe Duck.” Col. Joseph Duckworth, then a major, was assigned to “Air Corps Advanced Flying School, Kaye Field, Columbus, Mississippi, in early 1942 to serve as “Director of Training.” He quickly became active in the life of both the base and Columbus. Local residents called him “Joe Duck” and he and his wife lived in “Magnolia Hill,” a still surviving c. 1830 home on 12th Street North in Columbus.

While at Columbus, Duckworth was assigned by Col. L.C. Mallory, base commander, to investigate an Air Corps wide problem of excessive training accidents. Duckworth not only discovered the cause, he fixed it. The story of what Duckworth had done resulted in he and Mallory being featured in the Nov. 30, 1942, issue of Time Magazine and Duckworth becoming known as the “father of Air Force instrument flying.” The Base Operations building is named after Col. Duckworth and a main aircraft maintenance hangar is named after Mallory.

In 1943, while commanding at Bryan Field in Texas, Duckworth was the first pilot to admit to intentionally flying through the eye of a hurricane, and twice in one day in an AT-6. He was accompanied on the second flight by the base weather officer. The observation proved to be of such value that the flight inspired the creation of the Air Force “Hurricane Hunters.”

Construction of what is now Columbus Air Force Base began in 1941 and the base opened as Kaye Field in the spring of 1942. It then became known as Columbus Army Flying School. During World War II, nearly 8,000 aviation cadets [students] received pilot training at the base. During the Korean War the base was a contract flying school and in 1955 the base became a Strategic Air Command base with a B-52 and a KC-135 squadron placed there in 1958. The base again became a pilot training base in 1969.

Columbus and the Golden Triangle area share with Columbus Air Force Base a long history of military heritage. It is a history that began with Fort Smith in 1813, broke aviation ground in 1918 with Payne Field, and is marked today by Columbus Air Force Base.

Two days ago that tradition continued with the graduation of a new class, Class 14-14, of the world’s best pilots followed by the always delightful Air Force Ball. The ball was held in a hangar named for the base’s first commander, Col. L.C. Mallory. Inside two airplanes were parked side by side and provided the Heritage to Horizons focal point, One was Gary Dedeaux’s 1942 AT-6 Texan I and the other a present day base T-6 Texan II.

This was a ball like no other. It was an evening that began with the posting of colors, the singing of the Star Spangled Banner and a standing toast to the flag of the United States. It was a wonderful mixture of patriotism and good fun that celebrated both our heritage and our future.


  1. Pilot and grandson identified:

    2014 Article and photo:

    Condolences to family.

  2. RIP. in 2015 Air and Space noted that "Flying Texans can be an expensive habit. Today, the baseline price of an airworthy T-6 is about $150,000 to $250,000 or more. “Every year, there’s two, three, four thousand bucks that goes into that airplane, in addition to the mortgage, the hangar, the insurance, and then the gas,” says Ginter. “The gas is roughly six bucks a gallon, and the T-6 burns 30 gallons an hour. So in addition to the fixed costs of ownership and maintenance, it’s $180 an hour to fly it. Factoring in everything—oil, parachute packing every 180 days, subscription to aeronautical charts—the operating cost is about $500 an hour.”

  3. He's correct. The T-6 on takeoff and approaching a fly by has an obnoxious prop sound. Sounds great as it passes with that radial recip sound.

  4. prop sounds of the AT-6 @ in flight.

  5. Actually, that is one of the most fantastic sounds ever.