John T. Sessions stands in front of the new Mig-29 he acquired for the aircraft collection at the Historic Flight Foundation. (Mark Mulligan / The Herald)

U.S. flight museum founder ID’ed as pilot in Abbotsford International Airshow crash

Pilot John Sessions was giving rides in a vintage 1930s airliner at the airport in Abbotsford.

  • Aug. 12, 2018 5:35 p.m.

Ben Watanabe / Everett Herald

A Washington State aviation museum founder was hurt in a vintage airplane crash this weekend during the Abbotsford International Airshow.

John Sessions, who created the Historic Flight Foundation at Paine Field, was the pilot of the crashed de Havilland Dragon Rapide, the foundation’s Marty Vale said.

The 1930s-era biplane with four passengers and Sessions, of Mukilteo, Wash., crashed shortly after takeoff at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Abbotsford Airport, about 42 miles east of Vancouver.

The plane that crashed at the Abbotsford Airshow Saturday. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

Details about what led to the crash were not clear. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating the crash. “John is a competent pilot,” Vale said.

All five people were taken to a hospital, according to a news release from the airshow. Three had non-life-threatening injuries, one had serious injuries and another was in critical condition. Sessions was one of the people airlifted to a hospital in Vancouver, Vale said.

The Historic Flight Foundation has been a fixture at the Abbotsford Airshow, displaying aircraft for 11 years in a row. On its website, the foundation touted flying its Grumman F8F, Grumman TBM and Rapide at Abbotsford this year. Rides in the TBM and Rapide were available for reservation through the air show.

The non-profit museum at Paine Field, on the west side of the airport just off the Mukilteo Speedway, was opened by Sessions in 2010.

The deHavilland Dragon Rapide was a rare, recently-restored aircraft. At the time of its acquisition by the foundation and Sessions, the avid airplane collector told The Daily Herald that the plane’s durability and reliability meant airlines could stick to regularly scheduled flights, launching a new era of air travel.

The Abbotsford News contributed to this story.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

Cyclist braking stigma on addiction from coast to coast

Mathew Fee aims at world record for longest distance on BMX bike while sharing his story of recovery

Blackwater Gold Project receives a thumbs up from the Environmental Assessment Agency

The $1.8 billion project will provide approximately 2,000 jobs

Hazelton RCMP officer pleads not guilty to assault

A trial date for Const. Eric Unrau will be set on Apr. 23

MP Nathan Cullen to testify at oil tanker ban committee hearings

Senators travel to Prince Rupert and Terrace as part of fact-finding mission on Bill C-48

4 victims killed in Penticton shooting spree remembered at vigil

John Brittain, 68, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

Three climbers presumed dead after avalanche in Banff National Park

One of the men is American and the other two are from Europe, according to officials

Two recommendations made in probe of B.C. train derailment that killed three

The CP Rail train went off the tracks near the B.C.-Alberta border in February

VIDEO: Trump tried to seize control of Mueller probe, report says

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report revealed to a waiting nation Thursday

Whitecaps fans stage walkout over club’s response to allegations against B.C. coach

Soccer coach has been suspended by Coastal FC since February

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select sailings

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries will be available on the Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

B.C. awaits Kenney’s ‘turn off taps,’ threat; Quebec rejects Alberta pipelines

B.C. Premier John Horgan said he spoke with Kenney Wednesday and the tone was cordial

Federal government extends deadline to make Trans Mountain decision to June 18

The National Energy Board endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline on Feb. 22

Prince George sweeps to first-ever BC Hockey League crown

Spruce Kings beat Vernon Vipers 3-1 in the Okanagan Wednesday for 13th straight playoff win

Most Read