A veteran pilot from Hampton died in a plane crash in Pennsylvania on Friday a day after flying in an air show in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Andy ‘Trav’ Travnicek, 50, a member of the GEICO Skytypers, crashed as he was taking off the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport for a practice run around 12:35 p.m, according to group spokeswoman Brenda Little. The squad of six flies World War II era aircraft.
The Skytypers performed a practice run on Wednesday and then over thousands gathered on the beach and boardwalk in Atlantic City Thursday.
Airport director Carl Beardsley told the Press of Atlantic City the plane was heading north and veered off to the left and crashed into grass. Travnicek was the only person onboard.
Originally from Southbridge, Mass., Travnicek and his wife Sandy lived in Hampton.
He was to be part of a performance on Saturday. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds paid tribute to Travnicek during Saturday’s performance with a missing man formation.
“He was a phenomenal pilot and friend. The collective hearts of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds are with Trav, his family, his friends and his 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 Sept. 11 and 12 at the Pease Air National Guard Base.
Travnicek, a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate and 20 year veteran of the U.S. Air Force was a commercial airline pilot and a certified flight instructor. He also enjoyed riding motorcycles, 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.