A veteran Hampton pilot died in a plane crash in Pennsylvania on Friday the day after a flight on an air show in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Andy ‘Trav’ Travnicek, 50, a member of the GEICO Skytypers, crashed around 12:35 p.m. when he was taking off from Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Airport for a practice run, according to group spokeswoman Brenda Little. The six-man troop flies aircraft from the time of the Second World War.
The Skytypers held a practice run on Wednesday and then over thousands gathered on the beach and boardwalk in Atlantic City on Thursday.
Airport director Carl Beardsley told the Atlantic City press the plane was headed north, turned left and crashed into the grass. Travnicek was the only person on board.
Travnicek was originally from Southbridge, Massachusetts and lived in Hampton with his wife Sandy.
He was supposed to be at a performance on Saturday. The US Air Force Thunderbirds paid tribute to Travnicek with a missing group on Saturday.
“He was a phenomenal pilot and friend. The collective hearts of the US Air Force Thunderbirds are with Trav, his family, friends and demonstration team during this time,” the Air Force Thunderbirds wrote on their Facebook page.
The Thunderbirds will headline the Thunder Over New Hampshire Air Show on September 11th and 12th at Pease Air National Guard Base.
Travnicek, a US Air Force Academy graduate and 20-year veteran of the US Air Force, was a commercial airline pilot and certified flight instructor. He also enjoyed motorcycling, running, biking, swimming, hiking, reading, snowboarding, and paddling.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.