Pilot killed in Alberta air tanker crash last month identified

For several days the name of the Conair pilot killed in the May 22 crash of an air tanker in Alberta was not released, but now we know that his name was William Hilts.

Below is an excerpt from the Edmonton Sun:

Though the family of William Hilts is grieving his loss after the plane he was piloting crashed near Cold Lake, Alta., on May 22, where he was fighting wildfires, they have found comfort in the outpouring of condolences and gratitude from the community.

“It gives us a side of him that we never thought of. We always thought of him as a pilot more than a firefighter, but then you realize the role that those guys play in the community,” said his father, Stuart Hilts.

The 38-year-old pilot was fighting wildfires in an Air Tractor AT-802 “Fire Boss” amphibious water bomber for Conair Aerial Firefighting, under contract to Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD), when his plane crashed on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range on May 22 around 5:20 p.m…

Our sincere condolences go out to the family, friends, and co-workers of Mr. Hilts.

4 thoughts on “Pilot killed in Alberta air tanker crash last month identified”

  1. First and foremost my most sincere condolences to family and coworkers. I understand that some witnessed this horrific event first hand and that stays with you forever.
    This business is all about skill. Most days we have enough to do the job with a large margin of safety. Some days, wether it be due to fatigue or some distraction, the margin narrows. On the very odd occasion the skill set required to overcome a closing gap is more than we can expect. I know zero about the details of this accident except for this. Will was a fine pilot who met or exceeded what was required to do this job. Is this a case of “if it happened to him it could happen to anybody”? Possibly, we will never know. Somedays all the skill in the world isn’t enough and the hammer falls. In this case it was Will that took the hit. Whose next, when and where?…don’t know but it is coming. Can we learn anything from this accident at this stage of the investigation? Only this. We need to watch over each other as we would our own child. Team work and support around the fire no matter the company or agency can make the difference and increase the margin between skill and safety. Yes we want to do the job but all of us want everyone to go home when it rains. Together we are bigger, better and safer than the sum of our parts.

Comments are closed.