A Texas pilot died when his Focke-Wulf FWP 149D single-engine plane crashed a couple of miles short of the runway at Killeen’s Skylark Field. Brad Marzari, who was known affectionately as Launchpad, was a popular blogger and aviation personality on the podcast Airplane Geeks, and was known for his larger-than-life personality. Facebook tributes to Marzari were everywhere on the social media platform over the weekend, with one poster writing, “To imagine that this man is gone is just unfathomable. His personality was larger than life and he always took time to share his knowledge and passion for aviation with anyone, but especially young people.”
Reports are that Marzari had declared an emergency because of engine trouble as he was approaching Killeen. There were thunderstorms south of the city, but Marzari had apparently successfully avoided them on his way to Skylark.
The plane sounds like a relic of WWII, but it isn’t. The 1960 single-engine, low-wing, all-metal plane resembles a Ryan Navion and was originally built by Piaggio and later under license by Focke-Wulf in the early 1950s. There were only a couple hundred built. Friends say that Marzari had owned the plane for just over a year, and he had posted on Facebook recently looking for someone to fly with him to Oshkosh for AirVenture.
The NTSB is investigating the crash.