Fresno pilot identified after deadly plane crash in New Mexico

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Friends of the Fresno pilot say they were shocked to find out he died after his plane crashed in New Mexico on Friday. (KFSN)

Pat Napolitano, 53, spent his life living out his dream and flying across the country, but on Friday, the Fresno pilot died after his plane crashed in New Mexico.

"With somebody that's super skilled at what he does, you just can't believe it. We were all in shock," said Morris Garcia of the Central Valley Aviation Association.

Garcia says the pilot was a sales manager for Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics. He was on his way to Fresno Chandler Executive Airport from a business trip to Kansas when his plane went down near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Garcia says he was told there wasn't any indication of a fire, but the cause of the crash is still being investigated.

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Friends of the Fresno pilot say they were shocked to find out he died after his plane crashed in New Mexico on Friday.



"It was like a controlled descent. Which tells me there was a problem with the engine and he was trying to glide in, or there was a health problem," said Garcia.

Napolitano was well known in the aviation community. His family says he helped spearhead the flyovers for the Fresno Veteran's Parade.


He also flew World War II veteran, Bud Anderson, in his prized Beechcraft Model 17 Staggerwing he named "Queenie."

Tim Sowell says he got to see the pilot live out his dream from behind the lens, taking pictures of him in action.

Sowell's favorite memory of Napolitano was his kindness, "I didn't bring enough money with me that day, I forgot they were having book sales. He bought that book and Bud Anderson signed it, and he gave it to me. Bud Anderson wrote in there, 'Thanks for all the photos, Tim.' I thought that was really cool. That made my day when he did that for me," said Sowell.

Pat's family is remembering him doing what he loved most. They say Pat was an experienced and meticulous pilot and mechanic and that he was quote" living his dream and is an inspiration to us all" end quote.

Napolitano leaves behind a fiancé, a daughter, and step kids.

What caused the plane to go down is still being investigated.
Related Topics:
plane crashFresno CountyNew Mexico
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