John T. Sessions stands in front of the new Mig-29 he acquired for the aircraft collection at the Historic Flight Foundation. (Mark Mulligan / The Herald)

John T. Sessions stands in front of the new Mig-29 he acquired for the aircraft collection at the Historic Flight Foundation. (Mark Mulligan / The Herald)

U.S. flight museum founder ID’ed as pilot in Abbotsford International Airshow crash

Pilot John Sessions was giving rides in a vintage 1930s airliner at the airport in Abbotsford.

  • Aug. 12, 2018 5:35 p.m.

Ben Watanabe / Everett Herald

A Washington State aviation museum founder was hurt in a vintage airplane crash this weekend during the Abbotsford International Airshow.

John Sessions, who created the Historic Flight Foundation at Paine Field, was the pilot of the crashed de Havilland Dragon Rapide, the foundation’s Marty Vale said.

The 1930s-era biplane with four passengers and Sessions, of Mukilteo, Wash., crashed shortly after takeoff at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Abbotsford Airport, about 42 miles east of Vancouver.

The plane that crashed at the Abbotsford Airshow Saturday. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

Details about what led to the crash were not clear. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating the crash. “John is a competent pilot,” Vale said.

All five people were taken to a hospital, according to a news release from the airshow. Three had non-life-threatening injuries, one had serious injuries and another was in critical condition. Sessions was one of the people airlifted to a hospital in Vancouver, Vale said.

The Historic Flight Foundation has been a fixture at the Abbotsford Airshow, displaying aircraft for 11 years in a row. On its website, the foundation touted flying its Grumman F8F, Grumman TBM and Rapide at Abbotsford this year. Rides in the TBM and Rapide were available for reservation through the air show.

The non-profit museum at Paine Field, on the west side of the airport just off the Mukilteo Speedway, was opened by Sessions in 2010.

The deHavilland Dragon Rapide was a rare, recently-restored aircraft. At the time of its acquisition by the foundation and Sessions, the avid airplane collector told The Daily Herald that the plane’s durability and reliability meant airlines could stick to regularly scheduled flights, launching a new era of air travel.

The Abbotsford News contributed to this story.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two teens were sent to hospital after being stabbed Saturday evening. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Two teens stabbed in Abbotsford

20-year-old man has been detained

The annual Make a Difference Sale in Abbotsford is moving online for 2021. (File photo)
Make a Difference Sale in Abbotsford goes virtual for 2021

Annual auction raises money for world hunger through Canadian Foodgrains Bank

The Bug Girl, written by seven-year-old Sophia Spencer, is being given to 500 B.C. classrooms as part of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month. (Submitted photos)
Reading challenges part of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month

Abbotsford-based BC Agriculture in the Classroom participates in 10th annual event

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Feb. 28

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Approximate location of the vehicle incident. (Google Maps)
Vehicle incident blocking Coquihalla traffic in both directions

Both directions of traffic stopped due to vehicle incident

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Judith Uwamahoro is Black, approximately 4’7″ tall, 80 pounds and has short black hair and brown eyes. (Surrey RCMP handout)
UPDATED: Lower Mainland 9-year-old located after police make public plea

Judith Uwamahoro went missing Friday at around 4 p.m. in Surrey

Most Read