News


Palo Alto flight instructor vanishes over Pacific

 

A 24-year-old Palo Alto flight instructor disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean on May 8, and Palo Alto police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are trying to locate him and the plane he was flying, police spokesman Sgt. Brian Philip said Friday.

William James McAdams, a flight instructor at Palo Alto Municipal Airport, allegedly took a plane from Advantage Aviation, a flight school where he worked, without permission and flew out of the airport for an unknown destination, according to police.

McAdams, a Palo Alto resident, took off in the 2011 G1000 Skyhawk 1TG, tail number N191TG at 1 a.m., Philip said. The plane's electronic signal was picked up off the California coast near the Mexican border, but the quality and duration of the signal was not sufficient to pinpoint its last location.

"The last radar hit on the plane showed it was flying southwest over the water, about 70 miles offshore, around 2:45 a.m.," Allen Kenitzer, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, said.

Update: A U. S. Coast Guard spokesman said the plane sent out an emergency signal at 2:45 a.m.

No further signals have been detected.

Police have sent out alerts to local, state and federal agencies, the U.S. and Mexican Coast Guards and to all west coast airports to be on the lookout for the plane. Currently, there is no active over-water search, Philip said.

"There is no threat to the public," he said. Authorities do not know where the pilot was headed, he added.

McAdams is also listed as the owner of Fly High Bay Area Aviation School at Palo Alto Airport, according to the company's Facebook page. The company lists itself as an aviation supply and flight-training school. McAdams also writes aviation-training technical manuals specializing in technically advanced aircraft general aviation.

A Milwaukee, Wisconsin native, he received his Federal Aviation Administration commercial pilot certification in 2011 and was certified to operate singe- and multi-engine aircraft and had instrument certification, according to the FAA Airmen Certification Database. He gained flight-instructor certification in March 2014.

McAdams previously worked as a flight instructor at Epic Flight Academy in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, working with students from all over Asia, South America and Africa, according to his company website. He began working as a flight instructor at Advantage Aviation in Palo Alto in 2012. He also taught instrument ground school. Advantage Aviation directed inquiries for comment to Palo Alto police.

Anyone with information about McAdams or the plane is asked to call the Palo Alto Police Department at 650-329-2413.

Comments

4 people like this
Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 16, 2015 at 12:20 am

Wonder how the theft of this airplane will be recorded by the police? Presumably this is grand theft--so will the police ultimately charge this man with a felony, or will they just drop the case if he is never heard from again?

Wonder if this guy underwent any background checks before being allowed to fly planes over Palo Alto as an instructor?

The article does not specifically state how he was able to take the plane, so possibly someone familiar with the operation of Advantage Aviation can explain how people can take their airplanes without their knowing anything about the theft of the planes.


40 people like this
Posted by Bridget McAdams
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 16, 2015 at 1:40 am

This is Will's sister, Bridget. I need him home and love him so much. Praying he has a safe return...


21 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on May 16, 2015 at 1:42 am

Slow Down is a registered user.

If you look at his picture on his facebook page, is it the same guy as in this mugshot (same name) - arrested in Florida two weeks before he disappeared with the plane?

Here is the mugshot - looks like the same guy to me, maybe this is a bail jumping situation.

Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by is this common?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 16, 2015 at 9:18 am

Crime is up in Palo Alto with the recent Bloomingdales heist and the home break-in this past week, but theft of airplanes?

This is very concerning given the recent actions of the Swiss suicide pilot. And now there is the tragedy in Philly which is TBD if it was a terror act. Somebody taking off with an airplane does not sound good at all.

I would want to hear more about the security measures taken with these pilots. An FAA license alone seems to mean very little by way of screening, and apparently why many foreign nationals get their licenses from the FAA.




1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 16, 2015 at 10:55 am

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 16, 2015 at 8:11 pm

Interesting. I'll wait for something more official. Takes a good three hours to get anywhere near the Mexican border from Palo Alto in a 172.


Like this comment
Posted by What?
a resident of Duveneck School
on May 16, 2015 at 10:51 pm

Nice sleuthing, Slow Down :)

". . . he received his Federal Aviation Administration commercial pilot certification in 2011 and was certified to operate single and multi-engine aircraft and had instrument certification, according to the FAA Airmen Certification Database. He gained flight-instructor certification in March 2014."

Does this mean he could be a pilot for a commercial airlines (ie: United) when he was 20-years old? And teach others to fly when he was 23?


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 17, 2015 at 9:20 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Does this mean he could be a pilot for a commercial airlines"

No, it means he can fly for hire such as being a flight instructor, flying cargo etc. To fly for a commercial passenger airline he would require an ATP certificate (Airline Transport Pilot).

And to actually be hire by a major carrier he would need something like 1000 hours of flight time primarily in multi-engine aircraft.


Like this comment
Posted by is this common?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 17, 2015 at 10:16 am

[Post removed.]



3 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 17, 2015 at 11:09 am

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 17, 2015 at 11:49 am

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by What if....
a resident of Greater Miranda
on May 17, 2015 at 1:13 pm

[Post removed.]


1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 17, 2015 at 1:34 pm

We are assuming that he was alone - possibly not true. Possibly someone else in plane with him.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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