Missing plane found

Written by Austen Thibault, The Union Democrat July 09, 2013 12:30 pm

The single-engine plane that went missing over Yosemite National Park in December has been found in a remote area of the park.

The body of the pilot was found in the plane.

Yosemite National Park rangers hiked to the location of the plane Sunday after it was spotted by a visitor a day earlier near Vogelsang Peak, in the rugged high country, according to a statement from park spokeswoman Kari Cobb.

The plane was mostly intact. The pilot, Nicol Struan Wilson, 68, of Solvang, was found dead inside. 

The Mooney M20F four-seater flew out of Santa Ynez Airport and was scheduled to land in Mammoth. It disappeared from radar near North Dome shortly after noon on Dec. 17.

Cobb described Wilson as “an experienced pilot.”  

Wilson was flying alone in the plane manufactured in 1966 and had flown in the area on a number of previous occasions, she said.

The search began after Wilson’s wife, Constance, reported him missing on the night of Dec. 17, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The search was suspended 10 days after it began, having yielded no clues as snow continued to fall. 

It resumed in the middle of May. 

The plane will be removed from the high country over the next few days, Cobb said.

The Yosemite National Park Helitak crew was assisted by the California Highway Patrol Civil Air Patrol, California Emergency Services, and YoDogs canine search and rescue assistance.