New Zealand Pilot, New Aircraft, Lost At Sea

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On Friday, a ferry pilot en route from Hawaii to California ditched in the mid-Pacific after reporting a fuel problem, and was killed. Kelvin Stark, 58, of Tauranga, was ferrying a brand-new Pacific Aerospace Corporation PAC 750XL plane to Oakland. It was the first of the $1.7 million aircraft to be sold overseas, according to Saturday's New Zealand Herald. Stark radioed for help, and Coast Guard rescuers were sent to the scene, but he never emerged from the cockpit after the ditching. The aircraft was intended to be used as a demonstration plane, and then be delivered to a customer who planned to use it for skydiving. The company says it is the first passenger plane designed and made in New Zealand, according to the Herald. It can lift 17 skydivers to 11,811 feet in 12 minutes. It is also marketed for cargo, sightseeing, medical and military uses.