The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has confirmed that, Ken Lancaster, the pilot killed in the crash of a privately owned small plane Monday afternoon was an off-duty air tanker pilot.
It occurred near Columbia Airport in Tuolumne County, California in the 23000 block of Seminole Drive, about a half mile north of the runway. Mr. Lancaster was flying the personal aircraft off-duty and was the only occupant.
The personnel who fly and maintain CAL FIRE’s S-2T air tankers and OV-10s work for Amentum. The Modesto Bee reported that the company said Mr. Lancaster began flying for the CAL FIRE program in 2016. He flew OV-10 air attack aircraft and later S-2T air tankers out of Columbia.
During the last four years he worked out of Columbia flying Tanker 83. Previously he was an A-10 Warthog pilot for seven years during his Air Force service, earning the nickname “A-10 Ken,” according to information released by Amentum.
The plane that crashed Monday was a single-engine Barnow Barry Vari EZE, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. It crashed at about 12:10 p.m.