Local pilot dies in California plane crash
A Punta Gorda man died this week when the plane he was flying crashed off the San Francisco coast, according to information reported by the San Jose Mercury News.
Andrew Charles Hayden, 75, was identified through dental records by San Mateo County, Calif., Coroner Robert Foucrault on Thursday. The San Jose Mercury News reported that the cause of death is yet to be determined because of the condition of his remains.
Calls to Hayden’s Punta Gorda home were not returned Friday. It’s unknown how many family members he is survived by, but according to Larry McClure, president of the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Hayden was married.
McClure said Hayden was flying from San Francisco to Arizona when the crash occurred. He added that Hayden was a member of the EAA, was a former Navy SEAL, and was considered a fine gentleman.
“He and his wife were very well-liked in the aviation community, and we’ll miss him,” McClure said.
Charlotte County Airport Authority Director Gary Quill confirmed Friday that Hayden was a longtime tenant of the airport, having rented hangar space for his aircraft.
The San Jose Mercury News reported that Hayden was piloting a CZ A240 aircraft — which McClure described as a light-sport aircraft — at the time of his death, and the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were investigating the incident.
Hayden took off from Half Moon Bay Airport around 5:50 p.m. Monday, and when he didn’t reach his destination near Tucson, Ariz., his wife reported him missing, according to the San Jose Mercury News.