Families honor 2 men killed in plane crash

PHOENIX - The families of two pilots killed in a mid-air collision Friday are speaking out about their lost loved ones.

Both men were instructors for TransPac Aviation. They died doing what they loved, flying.

A growing memorial has sprung up on the Deer Valley Airport tarmac with photos, flowers and messages scribbled in chalk.

"As I read these messages, it just shows me how dedicated my brother was," said Luke Brownell, Paul Brownell's brother. 

Paul was a TransPac Aviation instructor for nine years. He leaves behind a wife and two young boys. "You just get through this and hopefully one day it gets better," said friend Angie McMahon.

Paul was giving some final pointers to Basil Onuferkno before he would start teaching student pilots as an instructor. 

"He was on cloud nine that he was an instructor," said Basil's father Fr. Andrew Onuferko. 

"He was scheduled to teach his first student the next day after the accident. I'm going to miss him," said his mother Maria Onuferko. "He was not only my son, but my friend."

The planes the men were in collided with another plane Friday about five miles north of the Deer Valley Airport.

"We are going through our own grieving process," said Stephen Goddard, CEO of TransPac Aviation. "We've been giving a lot of hugs around here to help us get through it all."

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash. An answer to what caused the collision could be weeks or months away.

Both families have set up a fund to help the families and create a legacy for the two men.

Brownell's family has set up a website to help his family carry on without him.

And the Basil Onuferko Memorial Scholarship website has been set up to help future pilots realize their dreams.

 

 

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