THORNTON — A pilot who died when his Cessna aircraft crashed into an open field in June and burst into flames apparently was “shooting thousands of pictures” of residential and commercial real estate just prior to the wreck.
A National Transportation Safety Board report released this month said pilot Salil Sinha, 41, was highly skilled, with a commercial pilot certificate. A flight instructor who gave Sinha his last flight review said Sinha “was a step above other pilots that he gave flight reviews to,” according to the report.
The crash happened June 29. Witnesses said the Cessna R182 exploded after it flipped and fell to the ground between Quebec Street and Riverdale Road, near East 124th Avenue. No one else was aboard.
Witnesses told investigators it appeared Sinha’s plane struggled against heavy winds and possibly a microburst as a storm system moved through the metro area, temporarily grounding flights at Denver International Airport.
Sinha was president and owner of Julair LLC, which provides aerial-photography services nationwide. Sinha was from Marshfield, Wis.
Family members said Sinha came to the United States from India when he was 18. He flew for another aerial-photography company and saved his money to buy his first plane and start his own company.
A few days before the accident, Sinha told another pilot that he took photos of real estate from the pilot window of his airplane using a digital camera. Sinha told the other pilot “he had been doing it for some time and was pretty good at it,” the report said.
He told the pilot he had business in Colorado and had been in the area for about a week.
Sinha also told the pilot that his airplane once struck a guy wire while he took pictures but that he was able to fly his airplane back and land it without incident, the NTSB report said.
The report — which doesn’t offer any conclusions about the crash — said Sinha spoke to his wife just before he took off and told her he was going to “shoot a couple of thousand pictures.”
Sinha’s wife said he voiced no concerns about the weather or how his plane was performing.
Sinha was in good health, and toxicology reports came back negative.
Monte Whaley: 720-929-0907 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Article source: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_19823486