Police Allege "Chicken" A Factor In Fatal Accident

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Pilot William Buchmann and skydiver Albert Wing were known to indulge in games of "chicken," local police have told the FAA. Wing was killed in April when Buchmann, who was flying the jump plane, collided with him near the Deland, Fla., airport. Buchmann's certificate was revoked by the FAA in August. The FAA said he flew in a "grossly careless or reckless manner," knowingly flying beneath the open parachutes of skydivers. "Such conduct reflects an airman who is either unwilling or unable to comply with basic regulatory requirements governing flight operations," said the FAA. Buchmann has appealed the revocation, and local skydivers and pilots have told reporters that Buchmann was not reckless and that Wing's death was an accident. "Bill Buchmann has the overwhelming support of the aviation and parachute communities. We have had literally hundreds of letters of support," Buchmann's lawyer, Patrick Phillips, told The Sun-Sentinel. According to the NTSB, the de Havilland DHC-6 was about 13,500 feet above ground level when 14 parachutists were released for the skydive over the Deland airport. Wing was descending toward the center of the field and was at about 600 feet AGL when the airplane, which was on a left downwind approach for Runway 30, collided with him.