About one week after a reportedly suicidal pilot and his plane disappeared from central Florida, a piece of wing has been found floating off Florida's northeast coast that may be associated with a different reportedly suicidal pilot. Investigators are seeking to determine if the four-foot wing section belongs to a Cessna 172 piloted by Gene Milowicki, a retired Navy commander with 24 years service. Milowicki resigned on Sept. 14 from his subsequent position as director of aviation programs at Florida State College, Jacksonville. Police found a suicide note in Milowicki's car, which was parked in his hangar at Herlong airport. The report comes roughly one week after Michael Sills and his Piper Archer disappeared under similar circumstances from Orlando-Apopka Airport.
In both cases, investigators feel that there is sufficient evidence to support the theory that the men committed suicide. Before his disappearance on Sept. 11, Sills reportedly threatened to crash his aircraft into the home of his ex-girlfriend, or another building. His car was also found at his home airport. There was blood inside the car and the exhaust had been rigged for what appeared to be a suicide attempt. A witness told investigators that his airplane departed the airport that night, and the FAA had joined local authorities in searching for the aircraft. In the case of Milowicki, his pastor told police the veteran had told him he had considered flying into the ocean, according to Jacksonville.com. Both men had troubled relationships with women from whom they'd separated prior to their disappearance. Both involved legal complications related to their relationships. The wing section was recovered by a dive charter boat. "We went to flip it over and fuel started spilling out," one passenger said. The Coast Guard began searching for human remains Tuesday and continued Wednesday.