MELVILLE, NY >> A Bucks County man was killed Wednesday afternoon when a plane he was piloting crashed on Long Island, New York shortly after take off from Republic Airport.
NEWSDAY is reporting that Ken Johansen, 52, of Doylestown, a member of the world famous Geico Skytypers Air Show team, died when his North American T-6 Texan went down shortly before 2 p.m. in Melville, Suffolk County.
Johansen was a professional airline pilot and a former U.S. Navy aviator. He was flying with five other World War II era planes from the Skytypers Air Show Team at the time of the crash.
The Skytypers confirmed with NEWSDAY that the aircraft had taken off from Republic Airport on Long Island, NY, and was bound for Maryland when the crash occurred. The team had been on Long Island over the Memorial Day weekend for the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park.
The National Transportation Board is investigating the cause of the crash.
Johansen, who is survived by his wife and two children, was an executive officer with the Skytypers and the son of Skytyper instructor Bob Johansen. The younger Johansen first flew with the team when he was eight-years-old, according to the group’s website.
Johansen had flown with the Royal Netherlands Navy and the U.S. Navy before becoming a commercial pilot with TWA and more recently a captain with United Airlines. He had worked out of Willow Grove as a Navy Reserve Instruction Pilot flying DC9’s around the world, the Skytypers said.
The Skytypers posted the following tribute to Johansen on its website:
“On the afternoon of May 30, we lost one of our team members shortly after takeoff from Republic Airport in Farmingdale, NY. Fortunately, there were no injuries on the ground, however, we lost a dear friend.
“Ken Johansen was an accomplished aviator, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a commander in the U.S. Navy, and a commercial airline pilot. Ken was also a member of the Skytypers as well as the GEICO Skytypers Air Show team for more than a decade.
“Ken was loved and admired by many in the aviation community, his family and friends, as well as those in his hometown of Doylestown. Our hearts are broken as we mourn his passing.”
Below find videos from the Skytypers' appearance in the 2018 Bethpage Air Show over the Memorial Day weekend and Ken Johansen talking about being a Skytyper.