Cessna Owner Organization member and article contributor Gary Van Dyke flew west in a plane crash Sept. 12 in the Arizona desert. Van Dyke, from Alvin, Texas, and his plane went down near Lake Havasu Municipal Airport.

Van Dyke was an active member of COO and was featured on the cover of our October 2019 issue with his 177RG. It can be fairly described as one of the best photo shoots by Jack Fleetwood, and one of the best photo layouts, in our Featured Plane history.

In that issue, Van Dyke wrote a detailed article about his plane and proudly wore his COO member shirt (one of the annual shirts distributed at our booth in Oshkosh). He was also a contributor, penning two Hangar Tip articles, one in the June 2020 issue (“How to Mount a Fire Extinguisher in the Cockpit”) and another in the April 2021 issue (“Tire Out of Round”).

COO photographer Jack Fleetwood said he was heartbroken because Van Dyke was “such a good guy. He was just the nicest man. Gary was the type of guy that many people will miss. He was very active with Angel Flight and loved making a difference in people’s lives.”

Below is the preliminary accident report.