Search Suspended for Missing Long Island Aviator
Captain James Ridley, Sr., PAO

EAST MORICHES, NY – August 27, 2007. On Saturday, August 25th , 76 year old Kennworth Eaton II, a pilot with 30 years experience, took his single-engine Piper Cherokee aircraft on a test flight from the Spadaro Airport in East Moriches to the Gabreski Airport just a few miles away when he disappeared in foggy weather.   

There was no ELT signal and local airport ramp checks found no indication of Eaton’s plane  landing.  His son-in-law Mike Prisco said Eaton had taken medication around the time of his flight and an air traffic controller indicated that he sounded disoriented over the radio.  

CAP’s South East Group mission base in Westchester coordinated the mission over a 3 day period with aircraft from the South East Group, the Long Island Group and the Connecticut Wing along with those of the Coast Guard.  They searched over 30 square miles in a coordinated effort to attempt to locate the missing plane.  Ground teams from the Long Island Group were also mobilized to search the local coastline for any signs of aircraft debris.  

“This one’s a real mystery” stated Dennis Michalski, a spokesman for the New York State of Emergency Services, Michalski went on to say that “the Coast Guard has exhausted all search area’s and search patterns”.  They suspended the search as of Monday evening alerting their routine patrols to keep a look out for the aircraft.  As of Tuesday morning CAP suspended their operations as well.

CAP Maj Paul Ghiron, Commander of the SE Group and the Incident Commander said that "this was the first missing plane mission in NYS for several years.  This is why CAP treats Search and Rescue Exercises (SAREX) and training like the real thing.”  He continued, “You never know when a real emergency like this will come up and we have to always be prepared."