Authorities release names of 2 pilots killed in plane crash

CEDAR CITY — The names of two Southern Utah University flight instructors who died in a plane crash Monday 6 miles southwest of Cedar City have been released Tuesday along with details surrounding the incident.

Retired Lt. Col. Command Pilot Alan Carver, 50, and Nathan Stoddard, 24, were both found dead after something went wrong during a routine flight in a Cessna 152, owned by Upper Limit Aviation, causing the two men to crash near the northeast side of Quichapa Lake.

Two flight instructors with Southern Utah University’s aviation program died in an airplane crash near Quichapa Lake, Cedar City, Utah, Oct. 5, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Two flight instructors with Southern Utah University’s aviation program died in an airplane crash near Quichapa Lake, Cedar City, Utah, Oct. 5, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Carver was a fixed wing aircraft chief flight instructor and was conducting a routine instructor sign off with Stoddard, according to a media statement issued by SUU Tuesday afternoon.

The plane crashed at approximately 1:01 p.m., 200 yards from a home near the northeast side of Lake Quichapa which located about six miles southwest of Cedar City.

No damage occurred to any structures as the plane crashed into a dry area of the lake. Those living nearby notified the Iron County Sheriff’s Office of the crash.

Southern Utah University and Upper Limit Aviation have a public-private relationship and the aviation program has been located on SUU’s campus since May 2013.

The Upper Limit Aviation and SUU community said they are mourning the loss of the two aviation instructors.

Retired Lt. Col. Command Pilot Alan Carver in front of a Cessna fixed wing, location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Upper Limit Aviation, St. George News
Retired Lt. Col. Command Pilot Alan Carver in front of a Cessna fixed wing, location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Upper Limit Aviation, St. George News

Carver retired from the Air Force in 2012 and started working at SUU in July 2013. He had logged more than 6,000 hours of airtime, including 1,400 hours of combat flying, according to the media release.

Carver leaves behind a wife and three children.

“I cannot adequately express the depth of sorrow I feel for this tragic loss,” Carl Templin, dean of SUU’s School of Business and aviation program, said. “I am deeply saddened by the loss of my colleagues and friends. My heart goes out to their families.”

Stoddard, who began working for SUU and Upper Limit on Oct. 2, was hired as a junior flight instructor, according to the statement. He recently moved to Cedar City from Salt Lake City where he worked as a transportation agent at Keystone Aviation.

Nathan Stoddard in front of a fixed wing, location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Upper Limit Aviation, St. George News
Nathan Stoddard in front of a fixed wing, location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Upper Limit Aviation, St. George News

“I have flown with Nathan before and he was a fine pilot,” Neil Donahue, SUU assistant chief flight instructor, said. “I was truly looking forward to working with him. He was going to be great teacher.”

Mike Mower, chief operating officer and chief flight instructor for rotor wing, said the pilots receive constant training so they can exceed the requirements mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

“Safety is our number one priority,” he said. “Everything from our maintenance department, flight operations to dispatch have policies and procedures in place to ensure a safe training environment.”

SUU President Scott L. Wyatt said this is an “incredibly sad time.”

No one is ever prepared for a tragedy like this,” Wyatt said. “Many of our pilots have served our country and we appreciate the service they gave to us. We mourn with the pilots’ families, loved ones, the SUU community and City after such a loss.”

The crash is currently under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and Upper Limit Aviation officials stated they are fully cooperating with the investigation.

SUU and Upper Limit Aviation said they are doing “everything possible to alleviate financial burdens during this difficult time through coordination of benefits.”

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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6 Comments

  • hb bev October 6, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    So incredibly sad, prayers for all involved

    • fun bag October 6, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      are all these prayers more effective before the plane crashes or after?

  • ladybugavenger October 6, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    Condolences and prayers to the families.

  • mesaman October 6, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    I pray these two gentlemen will be remembered forever. May their families feel the warmth of our caring and the sincerity of our sympathy.

  • fun bag October 6, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    I’ve had the displeasure of flying in a cessna a couple times. There’s just something unnerving about being so dependent on 1 crappy little engine… wouldn’t wanna do it again..

  • beentheredonethat October 7, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Small fixed wing aircraft and mountainous terrain. Bad combination.

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