2 SUU flight instructors killed in plane crash outside Cedar City identified

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CEDAR CITY -- Two Southern Utah University flight instructors are confirmed dead in a plane crash six miles west of Cedar City Monday afternoon.

The instructors were with SUU's aviation program as part of Upper Limit Aviation.

Retired Lt Col Command Pilot Alan Carver, 50, and Nathan Stoddard, 24, were aboard a Cessna 152 aircraft and were the only two occupants.

The plane went down in a dry lake bed that had some mud in it, at about 1 p.m., said university spokeswoman Ellen Treanor.

Carver retired from the Air Force in 2012 and started working at SUU in July 2013.

He had logged more than 6,000 hours of airtime, including 1,400 hours of combat flying.

Carver leaves behind a wife and three children.

Stoddard, who began working for SUU and ULA October 2, 2015, was hired as a junior flight instructor.

He recently moved to Cedar City from Salt Lake City where he worked as a transportation agent at Keystone Aviation.

Carver was a fixed wing aircraft chief flight instructor and was conducting a routine instructor sign off with Stoddard.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigation the cause of the crash.

"Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones," said SUU Provost Bradley J. Cook. "A tragedy of this nature penetrates all of us deeply."

SUU and Upper Limit Aviation have a public-private relationship. There are about 255 students in the program.

More information will be provided as it becomes available.

5 comments

  • e.g.g.

    Condolences to the families. Hopefully the cause of the crash will be discovered. This will not be a comfort to the family, but finding out why the plane had issues is important.

    Unfortunately everything we do carries risk. Especially in today’s world.

    • Rationalist

      Prayers for God’s grace on the families and friends left behind. One of the greatest tributes that a pilot can give to a deceased pilot is to learn from their possible mistakes and why they crashed. Here’s to you my fellow aviators – blues and tailwinds as you head west…

    • bob

      There are any number of reasons why the engine might conk out. The fatalities occurred because the off-field landing site they chose turned out to be muddy, and the wheels instantly dug in. That plane has a landing speed of well under 50 mph, but little planes like that are not designed for crashes, the way cars are. (Can’t be, either, due to weight limitations.) It’s like a 40 mph crash while in a Coke can.

      • bob

        My bad. Stall speed “dirty” is 49 mph. Pretty slow, nevertheless. And experienced pilot would have set it down as gently as possible, near the stall. But the bad surface is what got them.

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