I was absolutely shocked that a site supervisor for one of my biggest construction contracts got killed in a plane crash last week. I came back from TDY and apparently nobody thought to let me know that Jim had been killed; I found out his memorial service was yesterday when I checked my work e-mail from home early this morning before going to the gym. It's a hell of a thing that he died, he was a very capable guy with slick grin and a downright unique sense of humor. I didn't know this until today, but apparently he was a very accomplished pilot. He was also a fellow Embry-Riddle grad.
Anyway (and I'm sure there'll be lawsuits about this, so I'll be brief), I guess they were hot-dogging around in his brother-in-law's Glasair II. The plane had an upgraded 260 horsepower engine that is not recommended for use in the aircraft. The engine's performance, or lack thereof, may have been a causal factor of the accident. The thing apparently nose dived into a house out in Roseville, CA and killed not only Jim and his brother-in-law in the plane, but also some poor kid that was asleep in the house.
Another guy that is on the same contractor team is Jim's other brother-in-law and the brother of the pilot. I haven't seen him yet since this happened but I'm sure he's devestated on many levels. I guess he had just gotten out of the plane and switched places with Jim right before the crash. Plus the crash happened a block or so away from where the wives and even Jim's mother were hanging out and I'm pretty sure they saw the plane go down.
The whole thing is just sad and unfortunately I suspect it was very avoidable.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006 9:30 AM PST
Family, friends mourn McIsaac
By: Penne Usher, Gold Country News Service
The family and friends of a Roseville resident involved in a tragic airplane crash Sunday are mourning the loss of a man they say was an accomplished pilot and well-loved family man.
James "Jimmy" McIsaac was one of two people in the 1996 Glasair II - the other was Patrick O'Brien, 49, of San Clemente - that crashed into a Roseville home, officials confirmed Tuesday.
"Jim was a jokester, a great guy and a private pilot," said McIsaac's brother-in-law Jim Gibbs. "He took flying seriously, that was his passion."
The 1980 graduate of Colfax High School who made his home in Roseville was well-loved and leaves behind his wife Gail and 12-year-old son Anthony as well as a multitude of friends.
McIsaac's close friend and the best man at his wedding, Kurt Shell, 43, of Chico said from the family's home Tuesday that he will sorely miss his fishing and golfing buddy.
"We were best friends since we were 9 years old," Shell said. "He was the best man at my August wedding."
Shell, McIsaac and a group of friends would get together annually to reconnect and relax.
"Golf was one of his favorite thing to do and he constantly beat me," Shell said.
McIsaac, who would have celebrated his 43rd birthday in April, enjoyed fishing trips on the Sacramento and Truckee rivers as well as many other sports.
His sister, Pam Gibbs, 48, of Rocklin, said her younger brother was a meticulous pilot, although he did not own a plane.
"The minute my brother got on the tarmac to go to the plane he rented he was a different person," she said. "The jokes were put aside and he became very serious and focused."
McIsaac was believed to have been a passenger in the homebuilt aircraft registered to O'Brien. Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration could not confirm if O'Brien was piloting the plane at the time of the crash.
"Jim took flying seriously," Gibbs said. "Once he was in the plane he went from regular guy to pilot. It was a clearly visible transformation."
She said her brother's respect for the air and flying machines came from their father, who was a pilot in the Navy.
Gibbs' husband, Jim Gibbs, said his brother-in-law did have a humorous side, but not when flying.
"He could be quite a jokester, but he took flying seriously," Jim Gibbs said. "That was his passion."
John Bayne attended grammar, middle and high school with the crash victim and said Tuesday that McIsaac was one of those people who got along with everyone.
"You'd have to say he was the type of guy that everybody knew and liked, from girls to guys," Bayne said. "He was really better friends with the girls."
McIsaac is described as an all-around athlete who played football, basketball and baseball while growing up in Weimar.
"He was the icon and everybody knew him and liked him," Bayne said. "He was a part of everything - he wasn't one-dimensional."
Bayne joined McIsaac and Shell on their yearly outings.
"Eight of us would get together and go golfing or rent a place for the weekend," Bayne said. "It was special to all of us."
The McIsaac family members were longtime Weimar residents and Jimmy's family owned the once-prosperous Jimmy Inn. For a time after high school, McIsaac worked in the restaurant business and recently went into the construction field working as a general contractor.
Bob Lis, 44, of Monterey was another close friend of McIsaac.
"He would always liven things up," Lis said Tuesday. "He liked to think he could beat me at golf."
McIsaac graduated from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz., and had a degree in aviation management, his family said.
"He was a wonderful human being," Jim Gibbs said. "We're all going to miss him."
A third body recovered from the house is that of 19-year-old Christopher Musil who was home alone in his bedroom of the Longfellow Circle residence at the time of the crash.
Funeral services for McIsaac will be held at St. Peter and St. Paul in Rocklin early next week.
- Penne Usher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Damn, that sucks. I hate to see anybody go out that way, especially another ERAU alum.
Sorry to hear it.
Sorry to hear about that... Very hard to lose a great friend....
Bob Denver = Gilligan.
Gilligan still had a fateful trip.
Being given the responsibility to build and maintain your own aircraft never removes your responsibility to abide by the laws of physics and common sense. I'm sorry for his family's and the boy's family's loss.
WTF were they thinking? Hot dogging over a residential area?
yeah, I feel sorry for everyone but especially the innocent child in his house.