Navy Flight Training Commander Killed In Piper Lance Crash (Corrected)


The commander of the Navy’s biggest flight school and one of his officers were killed with the single-engine private plane they were in crashed near Selma, Alabama, last week. Capt. Vincent Segars, the CO of the Naval Aviation Schools Command at Naval Air Station Pensacola, and Cmdr. Joshua Fuller, an integration officer for the command’s naval introductory flight evaluation program, were identified Friday by the Navy. The two were in a Piper Lance that went down near Craig Field in Dallas County, Alabama. No details of the crash were included in local media reports and the NTSB preliminary report has not yet been issued.

Segars was a 30-year veteran of the Navy who earned a Bronze Star and numerous other honors during his career. He commanded the training program in Pensacola for more than 10 years. Fuller was in his 20th year and served most of his career at electronic attack squadrons at the naval air station on Whidbey Island in Washington State, earning several decorations along the way.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the crash airplane as a Cherokee Six.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Copied from news:
    Capt. Vincent W. Segars and Cmdr. Joshua “WITS” Fuller were flying in a Piper Turbo Lance II late Wednesday afternoon when they declared an in-air emergency and made their way to Craig Field, a private airport, according to Navy officials and Dallas County, Alabama, Coroner William Dailey.
    They were the only two on board.
    The plane was flying from Jasper, Alabama, back to Pensacola, Florida, when the crash occurred, which Dailey described as a “high-velocity impact with the ground.”
    It crashed about five miles out from the field, he said.

  2. I don’t want to speculate on what happened. Whatever happened, it’s one more excuse for insurance companies to limit insurance policies on key personnel to corporations and partnerships such that they cannot fly in single engine and piston planes. Yet another reason flying is so unattractive as an activity and turbines keep taking over while new piston planes become rare and more expensive to make.
    We need mandates to improve safety on new aircraft. I hate government interference, but we can’t get rid of it, and the status quo is letting the existing manufacturers build 50 year old designs that new entrants cannot compete with on price. Thus no one can get decent volume.

    • “Mandates to improve safety on new aircraft” certainly won’t help bring down the cost of new aircraft, and will only encourage manufacturers to build 50 year old designs. What is really needed is change to Part 21 to make it a less onerous process to design and certify new designs so that manufacturers have an incentive to come up with new designs.

      • My idea is to force the 50 year old designs to meet the new standards or be discontinued as is done in the auto world. Your point about cost would normally be true, but the current pricing outside the normal demand curve.

        Let’s say we demand more robust fuel lines, better stall behavior, and better impact performance. Something like an SR20 or DA40 or M20 might adapt easily while the Skyhawk and Archer might require so much upgrades they no longer compete. Volume helps the survivors reduce costs unless the other players respond with better designs.

        The average price might rise a little, but the image of the entire industry would eventually improve and attract more participants. My problem as a leaseback owner was not my purchase price so much as lack of volume. Take away the sheer numbers dominance of the Skyhawk and my price would have been the same as the $30k less Skyhawk. My insurance would likely have gotten lower than theirs.