Co-pilot Kevin Wang, killed in B.C. crash, left Yellowknife's Air Tindi last month
'He knew what he was doing in the sky,' colleague says
Kevin Wang, one of two pilots killed in a plane crash in B.C. on Monday, was a Yellowknife resident and pilot at N.W.T.'s Air Tindi until he left last month to take the job with Vancouver-based Carson Air.
Wang, 32, was originally from Vancouver, but had worked at Air Tindi for the past five years.
He was co-piloting a twin-engine Swearingen SA-226 plane from Vancouver to Prince George when it was reported missing shortly after 7 a.m. on April 13.
The aircraft was found in the North Shore mountains, and both Wang and pilot Robert Brandt, 34, were found dead at the scene.
Wang's former co-workers and friends at Air Tindi, many of whom worked alongside him for years until his departure, are struggling with the news.
"It's still quite surreal," said pilot Andrew Sweet. "When we chatted last, he had just gotten the job at Carson. He was really excited to be home with his wife and family, and the next day he's gone."
Sweet said he spent a lot of time with Wang during his time in Yellowknife, including rotations in Cambridge Bay and late-night trips to McDonald's.
"It's definitely left an empty space in my life and many lives that he knew," he said.
Sweet said while there are many questions that won't be answered until an investigation is completed, he said he's thankful he was able to work with and know Wang.
"We are all pilots, but some are very good at what they do, and Kevin was one of those guys," he said. "He knew what he was doing in the sky. He was a professional."
Wang came to Yellowknife in 2010, starting as a pilot-in-waiting on the ramp with Air Tindi and working his way up to flying the Twin Otter and most recently the King Air 350 used for medevacs.
Alasdair Martin, president of Air Tindi, said he spoke with Wang just before he left last month. He said Wang had fond memories of his time in Yellowknife, but was eager to move on to the new opportunity and stage in his life.
"He was popular; he did a very good job," he said. "A very reliable young man.
"Because he had a lot of friends here, a lot of people are fairly distressed or upset about what's happened. We're obviously trying to look after people who are a little shook up about having heard Kevin's died, and make sure everyone's safe to fly, provide any support we can."
Evan Woolridge, an Air Tindi pilot who graduated with Wang from the British Columbia Institute of Technology in 2009, said they both came to Yellowknife to get their wings.
Commuted to Vancouver
"He was a really quiet guy, but he was somebody who was always real happy around work and never complained about anything, just took it all in stride, which I think a lot more of us could have learned how to do," Woolridge said.
Wang juggled chasing his career goals in Yellowknife with being a good partner to his wife, who remained in Vancouver. He commuted to Vancouver whenever he wasn't working.
"It was hard for them to be apart," Sweet said.
The B.C. coroner's office and the Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.