Cirrus Sales Rep Lost In Crash

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Thomas Leveque, a Cirrus Design demonstration pilot and sales representative, died Sunday morning when the SR22 Turbo he was flying alone crashed near Creston, Calif. Representatives from the NTSB, FAA, Cirrus and engine manufacturer Teledyne Continental were on the scene. The cause of the crash has not yet been determined, an NTSB investigator told the San Luis Obispo Tribune. "We’ve taken a double whammy," Cirrus spokeswoman Kate Dougherty told AVweb. The crash came just two days after Cirrus executives attended the funeral of another unidentified Cirrus employee, who died of "health related issues" and not in an aircraft accident, Dougherty said. The National Weather Service in Los Angeles reports that around the time of the accident, surface winds at the Paso Robles Municipal Airport, about 15 miles to the north of Creston, were light out of the northwest with scattered to broken clouds at about 2,000 to 3,000 feet. The accident airplane was involved in another incident last July 15 when it glided to a safe landing at the Reno/Tahoe International Airport after a power loss due to the separation of a turbocharger turbine wheel from its shaft. Although no information was available on what repairs were made to the aircraft following that incident, an investigation last summer revealed a manufacturing process defect caused the turbine wheel separation. Some 200 turbochargers were recalled by Kelly Aerospace, the turbocharger manufacturer, and the manufacturing process has since been corrected.