We’re learning more about the two men killed in the crash of their amateur-built plane at a Vancouver Island golf course over the weekend.
Gerald Thom of Youbou and Michael Weir of Salt Spring Island and their amphibious aircraft plunged to the ground at the Cottonwood Course shortly after takeoff from the Nanaimo Airport Saturday evening.
The pair had been friends for nearly 30 years and had spent the past four years building the plane.
A preliminary investigation suggests engine failure.
Weir was a school teacher in Jasper and had been flying since the late 1960s. His daughter is also a pilot and flies for Sunwing Airlines.
Thom was recently awarded Citizen of the Year by the Cowichan Lake Chamber of Commerce.
His sister-in-law says Thom had the aircraft inspected multiple times.
“We just think he’s gone too soon, he didn’t deserve this at all,” says Alison Liebel. “There was more that he needed to do, and wanted to do.”
“These are ready-made kits, and there are patterns. He had the engine rebuilt professionally, and everything was certified, inspected and approved.”