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Published: Wednesday, 4/9/2003

Victims in local crash recalled as eager, capable pilots

BY RACHEL ZINN AND IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITERS

David Davenport had dreamed of being a pilot his whole life.

“His dreams came true,” his wife, Sherry, said. “They just ended way too soon.”

Mr. Davenport, 40, was one of three pilots aboard a Grand Aire cargo jet that crashed yesterday near Toledo Express Airport. All three men were killed.

Mr. Davenport lived in Ottawa County's Harris Township with his wife and three children, ages 18, 13, and 11.

For many years, Mr. Davenport worked as a truck driver. But he longed to be behind the controls of a machine coasting far above the highways.

He talked about flying so much that his students at a local truck-driving school got him a picture labeled “Top Gun Dreamer.”

Mr. Davenport eventually trained to fly with Grand Aire. He became a pilot for the company about five years ago.

Two other company pilots, Steven William “Will” Forshay, 37, of Springfield Township, and Wallis Bouldin, 32, of Louisville, were also killed in the plane crash.

Neighbors in his apartment complex said Mr. Forshay lived alone.

“I talked to him once in a while and he seemed very nice,” neighbor Winton Roberts said.

A man who identified himself as a pilot with Grand Aire was sitting in his car outside Mr. Forshay's apartment building last night. He had a pilot's uniform hanging in the back seat of his Lexus.

The man said he drove to the apartments to feel solidarity with Mr. Forshay and the other two crash victims. He recalled all three men as “very competent pilots.”

“Whatever caused the crash today, I guess it was something beyond their control,” the man said. “It's an unbearable loss. Everyone in the company is in a state of shock.”

Mr. Davenport loved his job at Grand Aire and worked hard, his family members said, adding that he was a conscientious pilot.

Relatives of Mr. Bouldin could not be reached for comment.



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