“J.J. just loved to fly. It’s going to take several of us to fill his shoes.”
Steve Craven, Angel Flight board chairman and volunteer pilot, had been a close friend and colleague of John Joseph Quinn, Jr. (“J.J.”) for 20 years until a tragic plane crash on May 24 claimed his life and the pilot’s. “It’s unbelievable,” Craven said. “I’m still in shock.” Likewise, everyone who knew the beloved 81-year-old pilot from Culpeper who was both the Virginia and Mid-Atlantic Angel Flight Pilot of the Year for 2015.
“He flew 50 flights [in 2015], which is pretty incredible,” Craven noted. Most Angel Flight pilots complete about six flights annually; Quinn logged nearly 400 hours each year.
A flight instructor at White Hawk Aviation at the Culpeper airport, Quinn was accompanying Charles Neal Caldwell in his single-engine experimental aircraft, a Skyleader 500. Caldwell needed to complete required flight time with an instructor pilot. The cause of the accident in rural Orange County, Virginia, is being investigated by the state police, FAA, and NTSB.
Before flying for Angel Flight, Quinn was a Navy pilot and commercial pilot for United Airlines. He was 15 when he began to take flying lessons at the Culpeper airport. In 2014, the National Aeronautics Association named him the distinguished volunteer pilot of the year for his public benefit flying that included not only Angel Flight but a couple of other charitable organizations, as well.
“He was always very careful and very safety-conscious,” Craven said. “He always had a co-pilot with him. J.J. was a cherished, go-to volunteer.”
Tanya Woodward, manager at Culpeper Regional Airport, said Quinn was “one of our founding fathers,” having built the first hangar of its kind “with his own funds.” “He has always been an ambassador for aviation.”
His funeral was held on May 28 at Found & Sons Funeral Chapel. His obituary notes that “J.J. was the definition of a life well-lived.” http://www.foundandsons.com/obituaries/John-Quinn-Jr/#!/Obituary
If you would like to give a donation in J.J.’s memory, you can specify that purpose on our website: Give.
All donations will go to J.J. Quinn’s memorial Angel Flight fund, as requested by his family.