Kennedy Crash at Martha's Vineyard



Originally Published August 1999

The nation was shocked when informed abruptly by breaking news reports that John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jr. airplane was missing at night off the coast of Martha's Vineyard. Search and rescue efforts in locating the aircraft and its occupants soon turned to reports of recovery of bodies from the cold waters off Martha's Vineyard.

The fatal crash claimed the lives of JFK JR, 38; his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, 33; and her sister Lauren Bessette, 35. The state medical examiner reported that all three died instantly from traumatic injuries.The crash was labeled as one of general aviation's worst accidents.

The crash happened at the same time that I was attending Phoenix East Aviation, Inc. flight school located at Daytona Beach, Florida. Conversations there among foreign pilots, certified flight instructors, airline transport pilot candidates, and general aviaiton flight students, focused on a cause. It bothered all of us because factors leading up to the accident appeared to have included pilot error.

Breaking news reports focused on the very subject matter of my curriculum studies at Phoenix East. Flying by Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). Course work would lead to my being licensed by the FAA for flight into pre-described adverse weather condtions. The fatal accident focused national attention on the importance of a pilot acquiring the advanced IFR rating