KNOXVILLE (WATE) – One person is dead after a powered parachute crash in Farragut Sunday.
The Knox County Sheriff’s Office says the aircraft crashed into the woods north of 11322 Barharbor Way around 4 p.m. The pilot and passenger were transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center.
The pilot, Stanley Decoursey, 58, was pronounced dead at the hospital. The sheriff’s office says his passenger, Kenneth Atkins, 54, of Knoxville, remains at UT Medical Center.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash.
Eric Majni is friends with Decoursey and has been flying since 1998. He says less than two years ago, Decoursey began flying with him and a group of other pilots in Knoxville. Majni says he and Decoursey both went flying Sunday.
“Stan lifted off shortly before we got to the farm. We lifted off about a quarter after 3:00,” said Majni.
Majni says they take off from a large field and fly powered parachutes.
“There’s actually a cockpit that you sit in and an airframe on wheels. You’ve got helmets. You’ve got intercoms and radios. It is very comfortable. You can communicate with the person you’re riding with,” said Majni.
He explained how this is different from paragliding.
“There’s a lot of confusion. Paragliding, there’s no motor. Then there’s powered paragliding where the pilot will wear a large fan on their back with a motor,” said Majni.
He says power parachuting is ideal with no wind.
“Yesterday was a nice day for flying. Generally we fly in the morning or the evening. It is the most pleasant because the thermal activity is low. It is smooth and enjoyable, just a quiet pleasant flight,” said Majni.
He says Decoursey was properly trained to be flying a passenger on the powered parachute.
“You’ve got to have so many hours of flight before you can fly a passenger. You’ve got to have a sport pilot license before you can fly a passenger,” said Majni.
Rocky Crawford also flies with the group and was friends with Decoursey
“It’s going to be hard going forward. He was a good guy. I enjoyed flying with him so it’s going to be difficult and he’ll be missed greatly,” said Crawford.
Both Crawford and Majni say Decoursely seemed happiest when in the sky.
“He was enthusiastic, loved to fly even from my first conversation with him it was something that he’d always wanted to do,” said Crawford.
“He absolutely loved to do it. You’d have a hard landing, break a wheel off or something, you fix it and you go back up that was Stan,” said Majni.
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