Pilot lost license before fatal airplane accident

Investigators await test results to find cause of the crash

Posted: Wednesday, September 06, 2000

The Sitka pilot who died in a crash last week at the Juneau Airport did not have a valid pilot's certificate the aircraft equivalent of a driver's license, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Anton Bowers, 69, died when his Cessna crashed into a hangar and plummeted to the ground early Thursday morning. In searching FAA records in the database of the Flight Standards district office in Juneau, the FAA discovered Bowers' certificate was revoked in 1991, said Terry Gordon, manager of the office.

The database does not contain any details about the reason for the revocation, Gordon said. To find out the reason, officials must access microfilm at the FAA's office in Oklahoma City. Gordon has made that access a "blue ribbon" priority, but it will still take "a minimum of two weeks" to get the information, he said.

"It's very unusual to have a certificate revoked," Gordon said. "It's a pretty serious matter."

For less serious matters, pilots' certificates are usually suspended for 15 to 180 days, after which they are returned.

With revocation, however, the certificate is taken away for a minimum of a year. At the end of that period, the pilot must make written application. He or she must also take all written tests, a practical test and undergo a physical exam.

FAA records show Bowers had his last air physical in 1992. Because he had a private pilot's certificate, he was required to have a physical every two years.

Investigator Scott Erickson of the National Transportation Safety Board's Anchorage office said the preliminary crash investigation results might be posted on the agency's Web site about 10 days to two weeks from today.

Medical examiner Dr. Michael Propst of Anchorage also requested Bowers' body for an autopsy.

"Evidence of stroke or heart attack are subtle, and we'll need microscopic examination to determine that. We're waiting on the blood-alcohol because many of the aspects of this crash could be explained by a high blood-alcohol level," Propst said.

The blood-alcohol report is due "any time now," he said this morning.

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