On November 25th the Toyota Executive Engineer for Environmental Engineering was killed when his personal experimental aerobatic aircraft crashed near the coast in southern California.
Dave Hermance has been called the Toyota hybrid guru by HybridCars.com. He described his role for Toyota in an interview in 2004, when he helped launch the Prius in America:
I am the native English speaker who presents hybrid technologies so folks can better understand it. The father of Toyota’s hybrid technology is a fellow in Japan by the name of Dr. Yaegashi. I’m kind of his stepson, if you will. There have been other phrasings, but I’m the American face of Toyota’s hybrid technology.
He will be missed. The plane he was flying was a Russian-made Interavia E-3. More information about the incident is available from Flight:
News reports stated that the aircraft, flying in an area where pilots typically practice aerobatics, failed to pull out of what appeared to be a loop, crashing vertically into the water around 400m (1,320ft) offshore. Reports also stated that an object, thought to be an unopened parachute, trailed the aircraft.
Based on a similar fatal E-3 crash in 2002 off the coast of Florida, investigators are likely to focus in on whether object was a parachute or the E-3’s canopy.
In 2000, an Interavia E-3 with the same FAA registry was damaged when it made an emergency landing in a Watsonville field after running out of fuel, the Los Angeles Times reported.