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Pilot dies in vintage plane crash in Melville.

Byline: LIBN Staff

A vintage airplane crashed and burned in a wooded area off Northcote Drive in Melville on Thursday afternoon. The pilot was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after the crash.A spokeswoman for GEICO Skytypers identified the pilot as Ken Johansen, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, naval aviator and professional airline pilot, according to Associated Press. He was a husband and father of two children. Johansen first flew with the Skytypers at the age of 8, according to his bio on the team's website, which said he caught the aviation bug early in life from hisfather, Skytyping Instructor Pilot Bob Johansen. In 2014, the father-son duo celebrated Father's Day in Ocean City, Md., flying wing-to-wing with the GEICO Skytypers in the OC Air Show. Video footage of their Father's Day flight can be seen herein a report byCBS affiliate WBOC-TV in Maryland that was posted to the Skytypers YouTube channel. Recently, Ken Johansen served as the commanding officer of VR58, a fleet logistics support squadron in Jacksonville, Fla., flying C-40s (B737-700) throughout the world. The plane that crashed in Melville, a SNJ-2, a U.S. Navy version of the T6 Texan, was one of the GEICO Skytypers that performed at the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park over Memorial Day weekend. It had taken off from Republic Airport in Farmingdale. The two-seater plane, built around 1940, was designed to train fighter pilots for the U.S. war effort. The vintage aircraft are flown by the GEICO Skytypers, a perennial feature of the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach. Their stunt pilots perform a wide range of aerial maneuvers while 'typing' out messages made of puffs of smoke. The SNJs weigh about5,500 pounds and are powered by a 600-horsepower Pratt and Whitney R-1340 "Wasp" engine. Two years ago, another vintage fighter plane, aP-47 Thunderbolt, was forced to ditch in the Hudson following an engine failure. The pilot, who was scheduled to perform in the airshow that year was killed.   LIBN editor Joe Dowd flew with the GEICO Skytypers in 2016. See his report from that flight here.

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Publication:Long Island Business News
Date:May 30, 2018
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