Originally Published: October 21, 2006 4 a.m.
PRESCOTT Of five people killed in Wednesday's plane crash, only three were pilots, but all of them shared a passion for planes and flying.
William "Billy" Friedman, 40, Donald Morris, 63, Andy Boquet, 62, and Joshua Vaughan, 37, all Prescott residents, and Warren Parkes, 39, of Anthem, died when a twin-engine, turbo-prop Piper Cheyenne crashed on a flight to take pictures of a MiG-21, about 16 miles north of the Prescott airport.
"Due to the circumstances of this type of accident, positive identification is often difficult and lengthy," a Yavapai County Sheriff's Office press release said. "Identification has been made through the statement of witnesses, identifying characteristics of the airplane and interviews of airport personnel."
Morris and Boquet each had a life-long passion for aviation that started with the United States Air Force and Marine Corps respectively and later continued with Southwest Airlines. Morris completed a 26-year career with the airline and Boquet retired in 2004 after 23 years of commercial flying.
Boquet's son, Zac, said that being long time friends, Morris and Boquet also enjoyed rafting together. Zac credited his dad for becoming a pilot himself.
"He enjoyed flying, but he always talked about other people's achievements," Zac said.
Karen Despain, former managing editor of The Daily Courier and a friend of the Morris family, said Morris was a meticulous pilot and a wonderful person. Until recently, Despain said, he was involved in the Dream Project at the Yavapai County Juvenile Detention Center.
Friedman was a private pilot and the captain of the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office Air Group a volunteer group that helps out with search-and-rescue missions, community events, smoke patrols and other law enforcement activities.
"His dedication to the Sheriff's Office and the citizens of Yavapai County will be greatly missed by all who knew him," a YCSO press release says.
Parkes and Vaughan loved photography, particularly taking pictures of vintage planes Russian MiG 17s, T-6 Texans, and T-28 Trojan in flight. Along with Friedman, they were instrumental in organizing an annual air show at the Prescott airport. Parkes, and Vaughan's pictures of military planes decorate the 2006 air show brochure.
Parkes' fascination with planes that became famous during military conflicts was obvious during a September radio interview. In his mind those planes were "the only reason to have an air show."
Meanwhile, federal authorities said that they recovered a piece of the Piper's tail about a half mile from the crash scene, which was in a remote area near Perkinsville Ranch.
"They were planning on moving the wreckage later today (Friday) to a facility in Phoenix," said Paul Schalmm, a National Transportation Safety Board spokesman. "In addition to documenting the accident scene Š they will further examine the wreckage and they will gather up any communications from the aircraft or radar data and weather data."
Schalmm said they will also talk to the MiG pilot and the passenger, who returned to the Prescott airport safely after the Piper crashed.
Both planes left the airport at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday with the goal for occupants in the Piper to take pictures of the MiG in fight.
Schalmm said the investigators also will check each pilot's training and experience and the service and maintenance records of the two aircrafts.
A preliminary report with initial facts may be available 10 days after the crash, but a more detailed report could take between five months and a year depending on the complexity of the accident and investigators' case load.
Between 1,700 and 1,800 small-plane accidents occur across the country each year, Schalmm said.
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