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.