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

Proudly Surrey modifies child-care policy

Slate wants to use school board property for child-care spaces

Surrey school board wants to expand French Immersion program

District had to close program at Cougar Creek Elementary due to low enrolment

VIDEO: Scarecrow festival kicks off in Port Kells

Fourth-annual event will be on until Halloween

Delta to craft whistle-blower policy

The policy is meant to increase public trust and create support for staff in questionable situations

VIDEO: North Delta Studio Stomp back for sixth year

The annual art event has local artists opening their studios to the public this weekend

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

Remainder of Vancouver Whitecaps season filled with ‘must-win’ games: coach

With Vancouver currently sitting four points out of a post-season spot, each contest is crucial

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Most Read