Roy Halladay Was Flying 'Jet Ski With Wings'

Fatal crash came in aircraft designed for novice, recreational pilots
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2017 5:55 AM CST
Roy Halladay's Widow 'Fought Hard' Against Pilot License
In this image provided by WTVT-TV FOX 13 Tampa Bay, authorities investigate the scene of the crash in the Gulf of Mexico.   (WTVT-TV FOX 13 Tampa Bay, via AP)

Investigators still don't know what caused the fatal crash involving former star pitcher Roy Halladay in his recreational plane off the coast of Florida on Tuesday. Halladay, who was the lone occupant, had issued no mayday call prior to the crash, reports Sports Illustrated. The 40-year-old had been flying a $389,000 aircraft called the Icon A5, designed to take off and land on water. USA Today found a since-deleted promotional video for Icon Aviation on YouTube in which Halladay's wife says she opposed the idea of him getting his pilot's license. "Hard. I fought hard," says Brandy Halladay. Her husband adds, "She's fought me the whole way." Halladay, however, got his license in 2016 and had become an ambassador of sorts for the A5, tweeting often about his flights and once comparing the sensation of flying low over the water to "flying a fighter jet."

A post at Popular Mechanics explains that the two-seater Icon A5 is "meant to make flying more accessible to everyone by simplifying the controls and gauges, and by trying to make the plane stall- and spin-resistant." The company website touts its safety parachute. The plane is sometimes called a "Jet Ski with wings," because owners can easily fold up the wings and tow it on a trailer, per the AP. "It's really a plaything," says the editor of Flying magazine. The story also quotes an aviation expert voicing concerns about inexperienced pilots flying low over the water. Halladay had been piloting one of only about 20 A5s in existence. In May, the aircraft's lead designer was killed when he flew too low into a canyon, a crash the NTSB blamed on human error. Icon, meanwhile, says it is "devastated" by Halladay's crash and will help in the investigation. (More Roy Halladay stories.)

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