Report: Crash in Washington state takes life of legendary pilot

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A well-known and much-admired pilot died in a small-plane crash near Twisp, Washington on Sunday.

Dooley Vanyo is being described by the Alaska bush flying community as the pilot of the CubCrafter CCK-1865, which was registered to Tesla Sunsets LLC of Missoula, Montana. With 186 horsepower, the tail number on the plane was N56DV; it was registered as an experimental aircraft in 2022. Damage to the aircraft was described by Aviation Safety Network as “substantial.”

The crash occurred south of Finley Canyon in hill country southeast of Twisp. Okanogan County Search and Rescue was notified of the crash. Jackson Konrad, who is a pilot at the Twisp Municipal Airport, knew the general location of the crash site, and rescuers worked with local fire and U.S. Forest Service law enforcement to reach the scene. A LifeFlight helicopter was dispatched to the scene.

Photo Credit: Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office

As of this writing, officials have not officially confirmed Vanyo was onboard, but the Alaska flying community seems convinced of his passing and has been posting memories of him on social media throughout Monday. Don Lee of the Bush Pilots of Alaska Facebook group wrote that the last transmission from Van was, “Still in the air but in trouble.” Devon Day wrote, “he was one of the great ones he will be missed by so many, everyone he met became a friend,” a sentiment echoed by others. Vanyo was also known as a skilled mountain bike racer in his day.

Like legendary Alaska bush pilot Jim Tweto who died this summer in a crash, Vanyo was described as an amazingly generous human being.

10 COMMENTS

  1. For the amount of small aircraft crashes and fatalities MRAK posted I just want to say I’m grieving with you readers whom are part of the aircraft community, though I am not part of the flying community. I do recognize how tight knit you all are. I am sorry. It’s been an especially rough 3 and half years for Alaska’s small aircraft community.

  2. Dooley was never anything but kind to us and was always happy and generous. RIP Dooley, we will miss you. -All of us at Wood River Lodge

  3. Reportedly, Dooley was attempting to land on a place where it was considered a one way only “no go around “ air strip in a rocky and hilly area. His friend had just landed there and reportedly stated that when Dooley tried to go around (commonly called a missed approach) his landing gear hit a boulder and got torn off the aircraft and may have done other damage to the plane causing Dooley to lose control and crash about a mile after hitting the boulder. He reason for trying to land on this spot was not mentioned. The location was around 5 miles from a regular airport.
    Dooley was well known in Arizona and Alaska for his back country flying skills often landing and taking off from remote areas that required high skill Levels and presented risks of damage to the aircraft and the possibility of injury to the pilot and passengers if any were aboard.
    He was a generous man and had lots of friends who will miss him.

  4. All the pilots killed this year where highly skilled pilots. Weather conditions or mechanical failure where not a factor, (except for Kodiak). Flying past the capabilities of the plane seem to be a common denominator. Flying to the MAX, will definitely eventually lead to a crash. Please fly by the BOOK, and stay 20% inside the MAX.

  5. 2 years ago, I installed 4 XeVision LED XeTREME Intensity Landing lights in the wings of Dooley’s Cessna 185 back country STOL tail dragger, he owned a few aircraft, not just the Newest addition his 2nd Carbon Cub. I stayed overnight at his fabulous house, rode in his Tesla and worked at his Glendale, AZ Hangar. He wanted the most powerful landing lights available, like everything he did, it was to the extreme. We did the 2 day install as a team. I flew down in my Glasair from Utah. Shortly after, at the 2021 High Sierra Fly-in, I flew in his newly outfitted night “illuminating” Cessna 185.
    He was an amazing guy, sad to hear, I’m sure his close friends will miss him.

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