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FAMILY MOURNS PILOT : SOUTHLAND WOMAN TURNED DREAM INTO HIGH-FLYING CAREER.

Byline: Steve Getzug Daily News Staff Writer

Hugh Chamberlin never had any worries about his daughter's well-being while she piloted commercial jets.

Candalyn ``Candi'' Kubeck, her father said Monday, was an experienced aviator who turned a childhood love for airplanes into a career that won her family's admiration.

``She was such a careful pilot, which is why I think it was the equipment on Flight 592,'' said Chamberlin, an Encino resident. ``I think that something electrical probably flooded the cockpit with toxic fumes . . . Nothing could be done.''

Kubeck, believed to be the first woman commercial jetliner captain to die in a U.S. crash, was among 104 passengers and five crew members killed Saturday when the ValuJet plane crashed into the Florida Everglades.

The Atlanta-bound DC-9 crashed shortly after takeoff from Miami. The crew radioed urgently about smoke in the cockpit and cabin before the tower lost contact.

The crash and Kubeck's death have left her family devastated.

Kubeck, who first entered a major airline cockpit in 1989, turned 35 Friday. Chamberlin said he and his wife, Joan, had planned to take their daughter to see ``Beauty and the Beast'' at the Shubert Theater on Wednesday to celebrate.

``We were overwhelmed by this event, this tragedy,'' Chamberlin said. ``She loved to fly. She expressed so much intelligence and so much love. Those are the things that will be with us.''

Kubeck's husband, Roger Kubeck, himself a pilot with American West Airlines, told The Associated Press that the couple had talked about dying in a plane crash after the April death of Jessica Dubroff.

The 7-year-old California girl was killed trying to become the youngest pilot to fly cross-country.

``Candi and I don't think there's a real joyful way to die in a plane crash,'' Kubeck said in an interview after his wife's death. ``No matter how much you love it, that's not the way you want to go.

``We planned on growing old together,'' he said.

Family members say Candi Kubeck was captivated by the military aircraft she saw in the skies while growing up in Southern California. She hoped to fly, just like her grandfather who flew biplanes during World War I.

Kubeck studied at the Berkeley Hall School in Bel-Air and Palomar College near San Marcos.

She graduated from Metropolitan State College in Denver, where she studied aviation and competed in a flight team that challenged teams from the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

She began her career as a pilot instructor at small airfields and working at various commuter and freight airlines. Her career breakthrough came in 1989, when she crossed the picket line at Eastern Airlines.

Chamberlin, a management consultant, said the airlines' training facilities were among the best in the industry, and his daughter learned to fly some of the nation's largest and most modern jets, including Eastern's biggest plane, the Airbus 300.

She was hired in 1993 at ValuJet.

Chamberlin said his daughter never expressed safety concerns at ValuJet, but recalled Kubeck noting that some of the fleet had reached a ``pretty senior age.''

He said she was excited about the company's recent orders for new planes from the McDonnell Douglas Corp.

The ValuJet DC-9 that crashed Saturday was 27 years old.

Patrice King, who is setting up a scholarship fund in her stepsister's memory, said flying was Kubeck's ``lifelong passion.''

``We feel that the scholarship fund is something that Candi would like to have done, to help others live out her dream,'' King said.

The Kubecks were married for eight years and have no children.

Her family has established the Candi Chamberlin Kubeck Scholarship Fund for Aspiring Young Pilots. Contributions may be sent to King at Home Savings of America, 17107 Ventura Blvd., Encino, Calif. 91316.

CAPTION(S):

Photo

PHOTO (color) ValuJet pilot Candi Kubeck sits with her husb and, Roger, in the couple's 1950 Piper airplane, in a family photograph taken in April.

Associated Press
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Obituary
Date:May 14, 1996
Words:654
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