Plane crash probed Pilot who died is described as 'meticulous'

April 19, 1993|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Staff Writer Staff Writer Peter Hermann contributed to this article.

A 22-year-old Howard County man remained in critical condition last night in a Washington hospital following Saturday's plane crash in Edgewater that claimed the life of one of his best friends.

Frederickus "Fred" Johnannas Giltay of Ellicott City, suffered third-degree burns over 60 percent of his body. He was on a ventilator at the MedSTAR burn unit at the Washington Hospital Center.

Meanwhile, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board spent yesterday in a hangar at Lee Airport going over the wreckage of the single-engine, 4-seater Piper Cherokee plane that Brian Keith Duffy, also of Ellicott City, rented in Frederick.

Officials from the NTSB could not be reached for comment yesterday, but Mr. Duffy's father, George Duffy, said there are a lot of unanswered questions about the crash that killed his son, whom he described as a "very meticulous" pilot.

"I want to know what happened and I intend to find out," said Mr. Duffy, 52, a retired Air Force aircraft mechanic.

The plane crashed shortly after 3:15 p.m. in a cornfield and burst into flames, authorities said. Mr. Duffy, 23, was killed instantly, and Mr. Giltay, a carpenter's assistant, was critically injured.

"It was his first trip in an airplane," said Linda Giltay, his mother. "We were very nervous about it, but he's an adult."

Authorities said the plane crashed about 50 yards from Solomons Island Road while the pilot was trying to make an emergency landing at Lee Airport. Fire officials said Mr. Duffy had radioed the tower at Baltimore-Washington International Airport that he was experiencing engine trouble.

Yesterday, the Mr. Duffy's father said his son never would have flown the airplane if he had known something was wrong.

"Brian was very meticulous and was a perfectionist."

The friends left Frederick for a day-long trip to Ocean City, Mr. Duffy said. Originally, he and his son planned to visit his grandmother in West Virginia, but changed their minds.

"I wish now I had went to West, Virginia," said Mr. Duffy minutes after talking to a priest.

He said his son had been flying since February 1992. In December Mr. Duffy flew with his son around the Bay Bridge. "That was my birthday present," he said.

Brian Duffy majored in aircraft technology and minored in psychology at Catonsville Community College, where he carried nearly a 4.0 average, his father said.

But the college student loved flying, his father said. "He wanted to be a commercial airline pilot, that was his dream."

Mr. Duffy had known Mr. Giltay since they were 8 years old. Both attended Mount Hebron High School, near Ellicott City, Mrs. Giltay said.

She said her son tried to write something on a pillow when she visited him in the hospital about 1 p.m.

"We believe it was, 'I love you,' but he fell asleep in the middle of it because he's on so much medication," Mrs. Giltay said.

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