Milo Kays and certified flight instructor Dennis Kozacek were killed in the crash near La Center
LA CENTER — New details were released Thursday morning about a plane crash on Monday that killed two area men.
A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator wrapped up a preliminary investigation at the scene on Wednesday before the wreckage of the Vans RV-6 single-engine kit plane was transported to Seattle for further inspection.
NTSB Spokesman Peter Knudson told ClarkCountyToday.com that the plane left Grove Field in Camas around 2 p.m. on Monday. On board was the pilot, 73-year old Milo Kays of Camas, and a certified flight instructor identified as 70-year old Dennis Kozacek of Ridgefield.
Knudson says Kays was conducting a test flight required every two years to keep his pilot’s license. The wreckage was spotted around 4:11 p.m. by another pilot flying over a marshy area south of Daybreak Field near La Center.
At this point it’s unknown if Kays and Kozacek were planning to land at the small airstrip.
“We don’t know that yet,” says Knudson. “It’s very possible that we will if there was a plan for the biennial flight review. Often times they will go to another airport and practice landings or maneuvers.”
While some small planes do have aftermarket devices to record information similar to a black box, Knudson says they’re rare. An updated flight panel may include avionics information or GPS data, though it’s too early to know if that’s available. There’s also the chance that someone may have been recording video on a cell phone or GoPro-type camera, though it’s unknown at this point if that was the case.
So far there have been no eyewitnesses to the crash, or reports of anyone who saw the plane before it went down, so it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact time it went down. Knudson says anyone who has information can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Knudson says radar data, or how much fuel was left in the craft, could help them to narrow down the time of the crash if no eyewitnesses come forward.
There were reports by some people of stormy weather moving through north Clark County right around the time of the crash. Knudson says that will definitely be part of their investigation.
“We look at three areas,” he says, “the pilot, the plane, and the operating environment … and we dig deep into each of those.”
Knudson says they expect to have an initial report of their preliminary findings available sometime in the next week or so. “It’s still early. All the information is just going to be factual in that report.”
Kozacek had been flying since he was 19 as a pilot in the Navy. After 30 years in the military, he flew planes for FedEx. Kozacek was also a fixture in the local flight scene. The Ridgefield native worked as a certified flight instructor out of Camas. His son Carter is also a fighter pilot in the Air Force.
It’s unclear how long Kays had been flying. According to FAA registration info the RV-6 was built in 1990 and Kays has kept up his registration for the craft since then.