Minden pilot killed in crash adored the skies
Allan Pratt lived for flying.
On Saturday, the retired commercial pilot made his last flight above Minden, the town he knew as the “Glider Capital of the World.”
Shortly before 1 p.m., callers began reporting an aircraft coming apart in the sky.
“One caller advising small plane, lost wing in mid-air,” the Carson City dispatch log shows at 12:52 p.m.
Pieces of the Carat motorglider crashed at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City. A few miles away, the rest of the wreckage was found in the Johnson Lane area of Douglas County.
Pratt, 66, didn’t survive.
“He flew as often as he could,” his wife, Karen, said from their Minden home. She had left home before Allan awakened on Saturday, but he called before he took to the skies to say he’d be home by lunch. “It was his life.”
Married for 26 years, the Pratts moved to Minden from Arizona because of the former’s acclaim in the glider community. Allan had retired after 30 years as a pilot with United Airlines.
Younger brother David Pratt, himself a pilot, said they became fascinated with flying when they were very young in Schenectady, N.Y.
“We had uncles who were fighter pilots in World War II,” he said. “After the war, our uncles joined the Air National Guard, and I remember they used to fly over our house at low altitudes.”
Growing up, the boys fought like brothers do, David said, but when the Pratts came into adulthood, they discovered they were more alike than they knew.
“I looked up to him. When we were children, I never would have told him that, but he knew that now,” he said. “We have similar interests, and we enjoyed each other.”
David, who lives in Florida, said a few months ago, Allan was worried about his little brother surviving the hurricanes belting the peninsula.
“He was witty and intelligent, and he made everybody smile,” David said. “I’m going to miss him being there. We would talk two or three times a day almost everyday of our lives.”
For Karen, Allan, whom she met when she was a flight attendant, was her constant companion and biggest supporter.
“He gave everything to (our) family. And he would support me in whatever I wanted to do. I thought that was very special,” she said. “I’ll miss my best friend.”
Allan Pratt is also survived by his sons Devin, 24, of Minden and Loren, 22, of Mesa, Ariz.; sister, Nancy in Florida; and nieces and nephews.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation.