Two Alabama Wing Members Die in Plane Crash

Civil Air Patrol Cessna 182T, N784CP
Civil Air Patrol Cessna 182T, N784CP

By Cassie Fambro | WTVM-TV

[Editor’s Note: We received an anonymous tip regarding this crash. Thank you for your contribution. This CAP plane crash in Alabama was attributed to pilot error.]

Reports started streaming in to local emergency officials just before 8 pm on Monday that a Civil Air Patrol Cessna 182T, N784CP plane was missing, prompting a large response in an effort to locate the plane. After hours of searching, officials announced that the wreckage had been found and two lives had been lost.

Two Alabama Men Remembered

Civil Air Patrol Deputy Director of Public Affairs Julie DeBardelaben said the crash killed pilot Maj David R. Mauritson, 67 of Fairhope and mission scanner 2nd Lt Phil J. Dryden, 66 of Gulf Shores.

Mauritson has been a member of CAP since September 1991 and Dryden has been a member of CAP since Nov 2015. He’s had his pilot license since he was a teenager and survived a nasty plane crash in Tuscaloosa in 1995, where he worked as a cardiologist.

His wife Eleanora told that her husband was “a good man and a caring person.” He graduated from Harvard Medical School and had been flying for 50 years. Mauritson’s mother taught him how to fly, and he taught both of his adult children. He helped fly angel flights as well other humanitarian missions. Eleanora said that her heart goes out to the Dryden family after the tragic accident Monday night. “I know what they’re going through,” she said.

Mauritson flew as a volunteer pilot for Mercy Flight Southeast, based in Leesburg, Florida, and for South Wings, an aviation-oriented conservation group. He was a certified flight instructor with 50 years of flying experience.

He was chairman of the Awards Committee of the Flying Physicians Association, previously served as its president and received the group’s Distinguished Service award in 2004. A lawyer as well as a physician, he also belonged to the Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association.

“Dr. Maurtison was a hero to our Mercy Flight Southeast family having signed up to fly 33 missions over the years,” said Steve Purello, CEO of Mercy Flight Southeast.

“He was an admired pilot who flew over 11,000 hours and was a certified instructor.Taught to fly by his mother who was also a certified flight instructor, David passed along his passion for flying to his children and was their instructor as well. His compassion and commitment to our cause to get people to far from home medical care will be sorely missed. Our sincerest condolences go out to the Mauritson and Dryden families.”

Mercy Flight Southeast’s network of 650 volunteer pilots provides free air transportation to life-saving medical appointments for people who otherwise could not get there.

Dryden’s son Gene posted several pictures of his father with planes and boats, a testament to the time they spent together and how he will be missed. “In memory of a man I am proud to call my father,” he captioned the photos. “I will always miss you, and I will never forget you.”

Gene was unavailable for further comment Tuesday afternoon.

Dryden joined CAP on November 3, 2015 and gained certification in emergency services and trained as a mission scanner. He served as the Mobile squadron’s assistant operations officer.

Phil J. Dryden

Maj David R. Mauritson and 2Lt Phil J. Dryden

What happened?

The crash’s cause is still under investigation.

Keith Holloway with the National Transportation Safety Board said the agency’s investigator arrived in Mobile early Tuesday morning, ready to begin an investigation into what brought down the small plane.

“It was found in a heavily wooded area near Mobile Regional Airport,” said Holloway.

Holloway confirmed the flight was a Civil Air Patrol flight and the Cessna 182T, N784CP was used with the program.

They also help with charity and humanitarian flights, which they were doing on Monday night, according to DeBardelaben. The pilot bears the expense of the fuel, maintenance and related costs for such flights.

Airport Authority confirms two deceased in plane crash Mobile Airport Authority confirms that a crashed plane located near the airport had no survivors. A pilot and passenger were in the plane, returning to Mobile after a charity flight. Mauritson’s mother taught him how to fly, and he taught both of his adult children. He helped fly angel flights as well other humanitarian missions.

Two deceased in Mobile plane crash Early Tuesday morning, Mobile Airport Authority Executive Director Roger Wehner confirmed that two people are deceased after a plane crashed near the airport.

Civil Air Patrol

Civil Air Patrol



1 Comment on "Two Alabama Wing Members Die in Plane Crash"

  1. Your readers may be interested in an update. The NTSB accident report was released this week. CAP pilot error was the cause of the crash.

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