Monday, June 28, 2010

Robert Russell Kelsey, BHS 1968


Robert Russell Kelsey, BHS 1968
Daily News of Los Angeles (CA) - Tuesday, April 25, 2000
Author: Greg Botonis and Krystn Shrieve Staff Writers
AGUA DULCE - A 49-year-old Santa Paula pilot was identified Monday as the victim of a weekend plane crash near Agua Dulce. The body of Robert Russell Kelsey was found Saturday in the wreckage of his Beech BE35, which crashed late Friday or early Saturday on a hillside east of Agua Dulce. Officials were still investigating the cause but speculated that Kelsey might have hit a ridge while trying to land in heavy fog at the nearby Agua Dulce Airpark. Kelsey was headed from Santa Paula to Chandler, Ariz., at the time of the crash, officials said.

The pilot had housed his plane at Santa Paula Airport for more than five years and was well-known by the other pilots based there. ``A lot of people here are really upset about the crash,'' said Janice Dickinson, the office manager at the Santa Paula Airport. ``We all knew him as kind of a quiet guy who was just real nice to everyone,'' Dickinson said. ``I knew him enough to say hi to him, but he always had a smile.''

Scott Carrier, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, said an autopsy revealed that Kelsey died of blunt-force trauma. Additional toxicology studies will be completed in four to six weeks.

Kelsey had owned Kelsey Automotive, a repair shop in Ventura, for about 20 years. Robert Eschenberg, a smog technician who has worked there since 1985, said he had flown several times with Kelsey to go camping at the Kern River, visit friends in Lake Tahoe or gamble in Las Vegas. ``I believe he had his license for 20 years. That was his love,'' Eschenberg said. ``He used to fly to the Bahamas and Florida and all over the United States. If he had money to put gas in the tank of the plane he would go and have all kinds of adventures.'' Eschenberg, who was listed with the airport as one of Kelsey 's emergency contacts, said Kelsey was always a careful pilot. ``Even though he was careful, I always worried,'' Eschenberg said. ``But he always said accidents happened to other people. But at least he died doing something he loved.''
Fatal plane crash cause will take months to learn
Ventura County Star (CA) - Tuesday, April 25, 2000
Author: From staff reports
Investigators won't know for months what caused a Santa Paula pilot's small plane to crash into a hillside Friday night about 30 miles north of Los Angeles. Robert Kelsey 49 was most likely killed on impact when his single-engine airplane crashed into a hillside near Agua Dulce officials said.

The plane was found Saturday morning lying upside down on the hill about three miles from Agua Dulce said Jerri Johnston a Federal Aviation Administration operations officer. Kelsey had left Santa Paula Airport about 8 p.m. Friday to fly to Chandler Ariz. A family member called authorities Saturday after Kelsey failed to arrive Johnston said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating and it's likely to be several months until the cause of the accident is determined board investigator Wayne Pollack said Monday. No witnesses have come forward. A local resident found the wreckage after the early morning fog lifted. It appeared the plane had struck the hill at about 3600 feet then hit again and crashed about 700 feet away. Kelsey had not filed a flight plan and was not required to Pollack said. The pilot also had not communicated with air traffic controllers Pollack said. Kelsey had been a recreational pilot for several years and had flown often from Santa Paula Airport an airport official said.

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