BENSON — Authorities identified the pilot killed in an ultralight aircraft crash Wednesday at Benson Municipal Airport as Timothy George Froebe, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal bomb technician with the Tucson Police Department.
Sgt. Froebe died in the Sept. 4 crash when the ultralight he was flying went down in the desert about 30 feet from the runway, said Benson Police Chief Paul Moncada.
Froebe, 59, was the only person on board.
“The call of an aircraft going down at the airport came in around 7:50 this morning,” Moncada said. “When officers arrived on scene they found the aircraft close to one of the runways. The pilot was deceased.”
Moncada said after Benson Police identified Froebe, they coordinated with the Tucson Police Department in notifying his family.
“A Tucson contingent of motor officers escorted Officer Froebe’s body to the medical examiner’s office in Tucson,” Moncada said.
He said witnesses reported the aircraft seemed to be having mechanical problems and they could hear a variance in the throttle. They said it looked as though he attempted to correct the problem, but was unsuccessful.
“We send our condolences to his family and the Tucson Police Department,” Moncada said. Anytime an officer dies, whether or not it’s in the line of duty, it’s a loss to the community.”
While the accident was confirmed by the National Transportation Safety Board, the NTSB will not conduct the investigation.
“This is a true ultralight, which falls in the ‘vehicle’ category and is not classified as an (airplane),” NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said. “Therefore, we will be referring this to local authorities.”
Ultralight aircrafts are small, personal planes that carry one or two people, powered by a small motor. According to the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) website, ultralights can range from traditional fixed-wing aircrafts to amphibians to rotorcraft. A license or medical certificate is not required to fly an ultralight in the U.S., as long as the plane meets Federal Aviation Regulation requirements, the EAA site states.