Fatal Occurrence 2010O0147
Pilot Died Doing What He Loved
After lunch, they got back in their separate planes and headed home to Carp.
Within 20 minutes, about halfway back to Smiths Falls, Phillips ran into trouble with his kit plane that took him 22 months to build.
His plane went down in the brush north of Madoc, a small town about 200 km southwest of Ottawa.
At 10:30 p.m. Saturday, a search and rescue crew found the downed plane. The 43-year-old married father of two was dead.
The other two pilots didn’t see Phillips crash.
“They weren’t really close together. The other two aircrafts lost sight of Andy ... they didn’t think anything of it because they weren’t in formation,” said Phillip Kaye, who has a hangar across from Phillips’ at the Smiths Falls airport.
Once they couldn’t reach Phillips on the radio they turned around to try to find him.
They couldn’t and called for a search-and-rescue team out of CFB Trenton. The rescue team was dispatched at about 6 p.m.
The two pilots returned to Carp airport shortly after dark. The pilots declined to speak Sunday.
A Griffon helicopter and C-130 Hercules plane searched for Phillips for more than four hours before they found the crash site in a wooded area southeast of Wolf Lake.
Phillips’ wife, Dawn Grainger Phillips, was notified Saturday night. She declined to speak Sunday saying she was still in shock.
Phillips’ family said the general contractor died doing what he loved.
The assembly of his Van’s Aircraft RV 7A two-seater was well-documented online.
“Today was the day! At approximately 11:45 this morning my project became a plane,” Phillips wrote on Oct. 8, 2008, the first day his plane “lifted off without a hitch.”
There are about 20 people in the Ottawa area who own RV planes and they meet regularly, help each other and fly together.
Phillips would fly whenever he got the chance, said friend Mark Richardson.
“My wife and I just 10 seconds ago said we just went to Lindsay for breakfast with him last spring,” said Richardson, adding it was a beautiful sunny day. “It’s a 45-minute flight. It’s nice to get out and fly and it’s easy to find.”
They flew in separate RV planes, Richardson and his wife in one and Phillips and his son in the other.
“In the hobby it’s called the $100 hamburger. It’s just an excuse to get out and fly,” Richardson said.
Another friend, Mike Asselin, hadn’t heard the news when reached by the Sun Sunday.
“That’s very sad,” he said. “He was very enthusiastic about his aircraft project. He was very helpful to anybody who needed assistance and a lot of people looked up to Andrew.”
Phillip Kaye said he last spoke to Phillips last week when they were at the Smiths Falls airport.
“He offered me some tips installing something in my baggage department,” he said. “I can tell you, I wouldn’t have had any problem flying in his airplane. To my knowledge there was nothing wrong with his plane.”
Transportation Safety Board investigators arrived at the crash scene by snowmobile Sunday morning.
The cause of the crash hasn’t been determined.