Coast pilots shocked by missing plane

Coast pilots shocked by missing plane

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Piloting an aircraft is something that most of the population will never do. Hours of training in the air and on the ground are required to obtain a pilot's license.

However, as crews in Jackson County continue searching for answers in a recent plane crash, many in the area remain in shock; including those in the aviation community.

"You're up there in the air, and it's just you and the airplane and the elements," said Randy Field.

As a pilot of a small aircraft, Field understands the risks involved with flying. Incidents like the Jackson County crash serve as a reminder as to how quickly a situation can change.

"We just try to always learn from things that happen and it's a terrible thing that this happens because general aviation is still a small community," said Field.

John Dibble owns the Ocean Springs Airport and says he often flies his own experimental aircraft out of the airport. According to Dibble, smaller planes handle a lot differently than the bigger jets that commercial fliers are used to.

"It responds to the weather more where as a jet is kind of like riding on a bus," said Dibble.

Dribble says that while pilots can keep an eye on the weather on iPads or other devices, he avoids flying in bad weather conditions if at all possible.

"Many of us have weather right in the cockpit. We can see where the weather is and just avoid it ourselves," said Dibble.

But, being able to monitor the weather doesn't eliminate danger. According to Field, although accurate, apps on devices can sometimes be delayed which could put you in extremely rough conditions.

"And then when things get dicey you run out of options," said Field.

As of Wednesday afternoon, it was not clear exactly what went wrong on the single-engine Cessna. No matter what happened, Field says it's not going to keep him from getting back into the cockpit.

"I-10 is a lot more dangerous than going up in an airplane around here," he said.

The investigation into the missing plane and the search for its three passengers is ongoing.

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