Paul Rosiek and Richard Walker are two extraordinary gentlemen who passed away in the North Collins plane crash. Today, they are being remembered by Jim Cavanaugh, one of their closest friends.
September 25th was just another day for flying mates Paul Rosiek and Richard Walker to fly down to St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania to grab some breakfast, when tragedy struck.
Their planes, which they themselves piloted at the time, collided with each other. There were no survivors. While Paul Rosiek was alone in his plane, Richard Walker had his wife along for company.
We at Morning News USA reached out to one of Rosiek and Walker’s closest friends and fellow pilot, Jim Cavanaugh, someone who was with them the day before the horrific accident took place.
Where do you live and what’s your occupation?
I live in Tonawanda NY (Buffalo Suburb) and I am a commercial photographer
How did you know Paul Rosiek and Richard Walker?
I have known both Paul and Rich for over 12 years. We are part of the overall aviation community in Western New York State.
We had many mutual friends and would see each other at various aviation related and social events during the year. Both Rich and Paul attended a weekly Aviation Maintenance class that I also attended for many years
How would you describe both of their personalities?
Both can only be described as truly wonderful people. They type of people you like instantly. Sharp, energetic people that you enjoyed being around. They were also quick to volunteer and lend a hand when help was needed.
When did you first come to hear about the tragic accident?
I was with a group of friends at another airport when we first heard about the accident around 10am on Sunday morning. However, we had no specific details.
I received a call from a mutual friend of the victims around 11:30am and he told me who was involved in the devastating accident.
Aviation experts have described the accident as a “rare event”. Would you agree and what is your take on the incident?
These specific types of accidents are indeed rare. The FAA and NTSB can provide specific statistics on a year by year basis.
And the FAA and NTSB will complete a thorough investigation and the NTSB final report will provide the factual information about the accident as well as any contributing factors that may have played a role.
Have you reached out to the families of the victims?
I have not directly.
What is your last memory with both Rosiek and Walker and how would you like the world to remember them?
I saw Paul and his wife at a pig roast at my airport the night before the accident. No one could imagine the horrible events that would unfold the next morning.
Paul, Rich and their close friend Bill Drew went with our group to the Annual Convention of the Experimental Aircraft Association in Oshkosh Wisconsin this past July.
“AirVenture” is the largest aviation event in the world. It was the first time for all three of them. I really enjoyed seeing the great time they were having and also enjoyed having them as part of our group.
I would ask people to remember them as experienced pilots who loved flying. Close friends. People that you enjoyed being around. And just truly two of the nicest people you could ever meet.
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