Two Killed In Mooney Crash During Air Rally In Canada


Tragedy struck the Ninety-Nines’ Gold Cup Air Rally in Ontario, Canada, last week. Two participants, Susan Begg, 73, of Ottawa, and Asti Livingston, 43, of Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, were killed in the crash of Begg’s Mooney 201. A 41-year member of the Ninety-Nines who served as Governor of the East Canada Section from 2014–2016, Begg was described as “an experienced pilot,” as was Livingston. Online posts show the pair had flown together previously in air races and rallies. Authorities said one of the occupants died instantly, while the second woman was airlifted to a hospital but did not survive.

The air rally was hosted by South River Sundridge Airpark (CPE6), near North Bay, Ontario, Canada. Local authorities said the Mooney was reported missing around 3 p.m. local time Thursday (Sept. 16) and was found crashed about one-third of a mile from the airport.

According to the Air Rally website, the three-day gathering “is a not a race. This all-women’s cross-country challenge is flown in day VFR conditions only. The competitive part is based on challenges such as aviation related questions, ground photos, calculation of fuel consumption, spot landing, and more. There must be a minimum of 2 persons per aircraft, (pilot and co-pilot).”

The rally was initiated in 2000 by two Canadian members of the Ninety-Nines, an international organization dedicated to promoting women in aviation.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating the accident.

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. The date on this article is incorrect. The fatal accident occurred on Thursday Sept 16, 2021.
    The co-pilot was more commonly known to most of us as Asti Livingston.

  2. I’ve seen Mooneys (Piperpainter’s in particular) at Idaho/OR/WA backcountry airstrips less than 2,000′ they seem to do fine. Pretty capable airplane.

    • I’d agree, if this were her home airport. Speed and judgement has to be spot on. “I” in a Tiger would not enjoy such a short, unfamiliar, strip surrounded by trees. Of course it’s doable, you just need to have your “A” game in.

  3. As a 47 year Mooney owner/operator I agree that the 2600′ runway should not be a problem. It is, however, much more comfortable carrying some power on final yielding a shallow glide path from which an engine failure would cause a landing short of the runway.

  4. Naturally, I don’t know what caused this crash. But the age of the pilot (73) might be a Contributing Factor. (If it wasn’t the Primary Factor, that the pilot simply died from old age (e.g., heart attack) in flight.) Which brings up the question: At what point is it irresponsible to continue to fly, age-wise?

    I’m 65 now. My airplane partner and I decided to sell our Glasair two years ago because, in part, I was becoming too old to fly (and maintain) it. And I knew it. (There will come a time when I won’t know it – when I can’t remember what I don’t remember.) And so we thought it better to sell now than for you to read about us in AvWeb.

    First, just on its face, I’m simply not as young as I used to be. My reflexes aren’t as fast as they used to be, making landings in extreme (gusty) crosswinds more difficult. My eyes don’t accommodate anymore, making night flying more difficult. (And progressives/bifocals make it worse.) I can’t think as quickly as I used to, making single pilot IFR much more difficult. I can’t get my oil pressure into the green – if you know what I mean. (While not a requirement for flying, I mention it simply to document the reality that, even though I hike regularly without issue, I’m not a young man anymore. E.g., My O2 Sat at 10,000′ now drops below 90%.)

    In addition to these the realities of aging, I noticed other limitations creeping into my life. For example, while flying the Glasair with a potential buyer, I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember my North Tower Frequency of 40 years. And while working on a magneto one night, I remember picking up the mag and experiencing a “black hole” event, where it took about 30 seconds before I could recognize what I was holding in my hand. I was no longer a safe pilot.

    Even if you’re not experiencing any of these signs of aging (although you’re probably fudging about your oil pressure, and maybe haven’t checked your O2 Sat at altitude), the simple fact is, the older we become, the closer we become to the day of our death. I’ve not seen a graph, but I expect that, past a certain age, the probability of dying from old age behind the stick increases exponentially. (E.g., the average life expectancy of a male in the USA is 75. So if you’re flying at 76, you’re on the back side of the power curve.) Even our Insurance Broker said that the Insurance Companies will not issue new policies on pilots over 80.

    I’m not saying that old age caused this accident. But as Clint Eastwood, in a Dirty Harry movie, famously said “A man’s got to know his limitations.” There is a time for everything, and, sadly, that includes a time to stop flying.

    • Watch out, former. I hear they are considering executing everyone at age 66.
      Hopefully, they will hold off long enough for me & my pal to attend the next UFO fly-in.

      • Funny. But sad.

        My eye surgeon, a world famous doctor, who also flies his YAK in formation (24 inches apart, he tells me), stopped performing eye surgery after he turned 70. (Although he still maintains his practice behind his proropter.)

        His hands seem steady enough. Whether he was forced to stop because of Insurance or whether he chose to stop out of prudence, I don’t know. (Unlike flying when too old, he won’t end up crashing and killing himself if he screws up a surgery at his age. But he will screw up his “passenger.”)

        I say that he should stop flying his YAK in tight formation too.

        But go ahead, let a 70 year old surgeon work on you. And go ahead and fly with a 70 year old in close formation. Let’s see how your movie ends.