Flight instructor dies in Florida crash - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Flight instructor dies in Florida crash

November 3, 2006

Albany -- A young flight instructor, a native of Albany was killed Wednesday, when his plane crashed in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Daniel Monroe, nicknamed Chopper, was only 25. His family says he lived life to the fullest.  

From early childhood, Chopper Monroe knew just what he wanted to do. He wanted to touch the clouds.   "It's very rare that people get to attain their dreams in their lifetime." But Chopper did, and once he touched those clouds, his mother Katherine says, he didn't want to come back down.   His mother says, "He lived for it. That's what he lived for."

Lived to fly planes, and that's what he would die doing.   "The mechanic called and he just said, 'sit down.' I don't know why they say that. And so I sat down, and he said that Chopper was in a plane crash."

But even then she didn't grasp what he meant. "I didn't expect him to say, 'he didn't make it.' It didn't register. I didn't, I couldn't get it."

After all, this was her son. Chopper was invincible. He knew it, she believed it.   "I never thought he could die. I just didn't think it. I, didn't think it."

Chopper was a flight instructor, and had a student on board when something went very wrong Wednesday morning.  "The witnesses said that they heard an engine turn off."

An emergency landing was attempted, but they couldn't make it to the nearby air strip. Chopper died instantly, his student, 37-year old Daniel Richman of Canada, died a short time later.

Even though Chopper was only 25, his brother Ricky says he was able to achieve more than most people can ever imagine. "In today's world, sometimes it seems like dreams don't come true anymore, but my brother was living his dream."

A dream that took him to the clouds. Clouds he didn't want to come down from and where he'll now live, forever.

At the time of the crash, Chopper Monroe was flying a twin-engine Beech Duchess. They were trying to land at the Spruce Creek Fly-in, a private airstrip near Port Orange, Florida.

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