TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – The official cause of the deadly plane crash at Peter O’Knight Airport on Davis Islands Friday is still under investigation, but family members have identified the two men who perished in that twin-engine Cessna.
The pilot was Louis Caporicci, 54, a former Air Force combat pilot with decades of flying experience and multiple certificates and ratings as a civilian pilot. His passenger was Kevin Carreno, 55, a classmate of Caporrici at the Air Force Academy who went on to become a lawyer and securities law expert.
The National Transportation Safety Board investigators say another plane was taking off from Peter O’Knight around the same time the Cessna crashed and burned on takeoff, but it’s not clear whether that was a coincidence or caused the crash. Investigators say they have identified the other pilot. There is surveillance video that shows what happened which the NTSB has viewed. The Hillsborough Aviation Authority is refusing to release the video as a public record citing a homeland security exemption.
Both men who perished in the crash were well-respected and highly successful in their careers. Carreno served as a compliance attorney for Raymond James Financial before leaving to work for other firms and starting business ventures of his own. Carreno’s longtime friend and fellow Air Force academy Graduate David Hickman was stunned to hear of the crash.
“Kevin was always so energetic and full of life,” Hickman said. “His family was always so loving and had a good time together.”
Hickman has known Carreno since 1983 and says they served in the Air Force Reserves together. He only knew Caporicci in passing but insists that Carreno always spoke highly of him. Hickman can’t imagine what triggered Friday’s crash.
“They would have followed a checklist, that’s the way Lou was trained. That’s the way Kevin and I were trained when we went through flight training as cadets at the Air Force Academy,” Hickman said.
Caporicci’s Facebook page shows picture of an incident in July 2011 when the landing gear on his twin-engine Piper failed during landing, damaging both propellers and the undercarriage. It’s not clear whether he had any other incidents prior to Friday’s fatal crash.
The NTSB promises a preliminary report on Friday’s crash within 10 days, another report in about six months and the final report in about a year.