He was known as a fixture at the Tehachapi Airport, a top-notch aircraft mechanic and flight instructor. And friends were hoping against hope that there was a chance that Gordon Davis would survive the crash of his Cessna 172 on a rugged Wyoming mountaintop, but that was not to be.
This afternoon Carbon County Coroner Paul Zamora confirmed that Davis, 63, perished in the crash.
According to a report in the Rawlins Times in Rawlins, Wyoming, Davis left the Bryce Canyon, Utah, airport Sundaty morning, bound for Laramie, Wyo. He never made it.
Instead, at about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Carbon County Sheriff Jerry Colson received a call from the U.S. Air Force that an emergency locating transmitter from Davis' plane had been activated, indicating the plane had crashed in the Saratoga area about 45 miles south east of Rawlins in the south central part of Wyoming.
A search ensued with efforts continuing on Monday and again this morning before the plane was located and it was learned that Davis had died.
"He was a super nice guy," said local pilot Ken Hetge. "He was always very professional in what he did. He has been around the airport forever. He was a true fixture here. We're going to miss him."
Tim Cahoon agreed.
"Gordon built my plane," he said. "He is one of the best mechanics I've every known."
In a telephone conversation with Channel 23 ABC news in Bakersfield, Davis' wife confirmed his death earlier this afternoon. The Tehachapi News has been unsuccessful in reaching family members, but The Bakersfield Californian reports a friend of the family who answered Davis’ home phone Tuesday afternoon said his wife was distraught and unable to speak about what had happened.
The Carbon County Sheriff’s Office reported the plane was found by a helicopter at 11 a.m. in a deep canyon about two-thirds up the southeast side of Pennock Mountain. An autopsy has been scheduled for Thursday.
Davis owned and operated Mountain Hawk Aviation in Tehachapi. His experience as a pilot includes nine years with the USAF and as a crash-recovery and investigation team member with the military. He had more than 35 years in aviation. Additional information will be posted as it becomes available.
ED GORDON of the Tehachapi News, NICHOLE L. BALLARD of the Rawlins Daily Times and JASON KOTOWSKI of The Bakersfield Californian contributed to this report. This story replace and updates two previous stories published today.