Two killed in plane crash

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:46

    WEST MILFORD—A flight instructor and a pilot trying to refresh his license were killed Sunday when the small plane they were in crashed on takeoff, police said. The four-seat, single-engine 1975 Cessna 182P went down around 1 p.m. at Greenwood Lake Airport in West Milford, authorities said. Witnesses said the plane crashed at the end of the runway after it hit some telephone lines and trees, became engulfed in flames and was destroyed. No one on the ground was injured. Jim Peters, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, said the cause of the crash remains under investigation. The instructor, Harold Botsford Jr., 79, of Ringwood, and Theodore ``Ted'' Fletcher, 56, of Franklin Lakes — a licensed pilot who was working to get recertified — were the only people in the plane. Botsworth, a navy veteran was certified as both a transport pilot and flight instuctor. He started his commercial career as a bush pilot in Alaska. In 1955, he went to work for Continental Airlines, where he met fellow pilot and longtime friend Harlowe Girard. "Hal was the finest pilot I've ever known," siad Girard. "He could fly every kind of corporate jet in the sky." A memorial service for Botsford will be held at the Discovery Flight Training and Maintenance building at the Greenwood Lake airport on Sauturday, March 26 at 10 a.m. Although Fletcher owned the plane the victims were in, it is unclear which man was flying the aircraft. The 180-acre Greenwood Lake Airport, which is surrounded by hills, is 44 years old. It had fallen into disrepair when the state purchased it in 1999. It is currently operated by Greenwood Lake Airport Management. The fatalities were the third and fourth involving aircraft in New Jersey in 2005. On Feb. 7, an ultralight aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff from Woodbine Municipal Airport in Cape May County, killing both people aboard.