Plane crash

11:30 a.m. : The student pronounced dead on the scene was 22-year-old Yu Qiu of China, according to Staff Sgt. Mark Tackett. 


Monday, July 29:

Francesca Norris, the instructor who was in critical condition after the crash, was ”pronounced dead late yesterday evening at Parkland, ” Staff Sgt. Mark Tackett said Monday morning. 

She's a 25-year-old from North Richland Hills.


Sunday, July 28

7:29 p.m.: 

An emailed statement from U.S. Aviation Academy: 

“All of our hearts are heavy as we collectively mourn our student and friend. Our thoughts are also with our flight instructor who is in critical condition. The safety of our students and instructors remains at the cornerstone of our training program and, with that in mind, we are assisting with the National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration and local authorities as they investigate the accident. We will also be conducting our own internal investigation. We will have grievance counselors on campus starting tomorrow and throughout the week to assist our students and staff as we grieve. Again, our hearts are with our student's and instructor’s families, friends and loved ones.”

--Justin Sykes, Assistant CFO, U.S. Aviation Academy


Update 7:07 p.m.:

A twin-engine Piper PA-34 crashed shortly after 4 p.m. today while preparing to land at Gainesville Municipal Airport, said Lynn Lunsford, FAA spokesman.

According to preliminary information, two people were aboard the aircraft when it went down about a quarter-mile east of Runway 18. The aircraft burned after impact, he said.

Staff Sgt. Mark Tackett, a DPS spokesman, confirmed the deceased is a male student with Denton-based U.S. Aviation Academy. The person taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital was a female instructor, he said.

The company has yet to return a request for comment at this time.

“FAA investigators are on their way to the accident site, and the National Transportation Safety Board has been notified,” Lunsford said.

The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation.


One person is dead after a plane crashed north of Gainesville Municipal Airport on Sunday, July 28.

Staff Sgt. Mark Tackett said the crash was reported to the Cooke County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 4:22 p.m. and troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety then responded to a pasture north of the airport where the plane was found.

One passenger of the aircraft was pronounced dead at the scene, said Tackett, a DPS spokesman.  The person's identity has not been released at this time.

A second person in the plane was taken by CareFlite to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, he said. That person is in critical condition.

The crash was called in by a passerby but not an actual witness, said Tackett.

Preliminary investigation revealed that the crash occurred at the north end of the runway, officials said. The cause of crash is unknown.

Tackett said troopers are securing the scene and the crash will be investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The airport is located at 2300 Airport Road.

Additional details will be released as they become available.