David Ostendorf, 24, worked at airport tower in Monterey
Written by Stiny
The Salinas resident who died in the Easter Sunday crash of an aerobatic airplane east of the Salinas Municipal Airport was an air traffic controller at the Monterey Regional Airport tower, FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer confirmed on Tuesday.
David Gary Ostendorf, 24, identified as the co-pilot, was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after the 7 a.m. crash. He was originally from Minnesota and had been an FAA controller at the Monterey tower since June 2010.
“He was outstanding” as person and a co-worker, Monterey tower office manager Sandi Edwards said on Tuesday. Tower manager Bill Fleischer referred a later inquiry to FAA public affairs.
Ostendorf’s high school principal from Melrose High School in Melrose, Minn., where Ostendorf was a 2006 graduate, remembered him as polite with an interest in music.
“I was just kind of shocked when I heard,” principal Chad Doetkott said on Tuesday. “It was kind of like ‘what?’ ” Doetkott said he got the sad news from another school administrator who had spoken to Ostendorf’s parents who still live in Melrose, a town of about 3,000 residents.
“I really just remember how polite he was with adults,” said Doetkott. “I thought he was a pretty smart kid … he had considered going to college for music.” Ostendorf was a 2010 graduate of St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minn.
The pilot killed Sunday was identified as George Alfred Mellone III, 32, of Yuma, Ariz. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the cause of the crash and is expected to release a preliminary report in a week or so.
Ostendorf’s father, Gary, said his son had met a man with a stunt plane and had asked for a ride, according to a Minnesota TV station.
“Witnesses reported being awakened by the plane flying over their houses (on Sunday),” NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said on Monday. “A witness saw the airplane do two rolls and then descend nose-down toward the ground.”
Mellone was a former aviation student at the University of North Dakota. He graduated in 2007 with a degree in aviation management.
The plane Mellone was piloting was a 1993 Extra EA-300, a German-built high performance aircraft capable of speeds just over 250 miles-per-hour.
The plane was registered to Invertical LLC corporation with offices in Grand Forks, North Dakota as well as Yuma. Mellone is listed as a “member” of Invertical on the company website.
Mellone spent six years as an enlisted active duty Marine, according to information he wrote on the UND (University of North Dakota) Military Aviation: USMC website.
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