Collier County pilots in a plane crash flew into a thunderstorm, report says

Published: June 19, 2019 3:27 PM EDT
Updated: March 3, 2020 5:25 AM EST

The preliminary report is in, but the National Transportation Safety Board did not say what caused a small plane to crash, killing two couples from Collier County.

Felix and Roberta Laqidara, owners of Felix Andrews Salons in Southwest Florida, and Greg and Evva Boll died from the plane crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board accident preliminary report makes it clear that Felix, who was the pilot in the flight, flew into a thunderstorm but did not hold a fly only instruments rating.

“All pilots need to fly on a regular basis,” said Dennis Graham, the chief flight instructor at RexAir. “It’s kind of like a foreign language: you don’t use it you lose it.”

We asked flight instructors from RexAir in Naples, and they said they once trained both Felix and Greg, to review the National Transportation Safety Board report. They said the two pilots did not fly enough lately to keep the instrument rating.

Pilots have to log at least six approaches and a variety of different maneuvers to stay present as a minimum.

The report said around two minutes before the accident, the pilot reported that they were entering an area of rain. The airplane was observed climbing, followed by a rapidly descending right turn. It led to a loss of radio and radar content.

Flight instructors said in order to learn if these pilots flew legally or illegally, they need to see their logbooks and look at when they flew last.