Pilot’s Daughter Drawn to Crash Site

Vicki Roberts went to the scene of the plane crash that killed her father

Edward C. Judd
Vicki Roberts

The daughter of a retired United Airlines pilot went to the scene of the plane crash that killed her father in Oceanside.

"I just wanted to be near my dad's aircraft. I just wanted to touch it. I think it was helpful," said Vicki Roberts.

Edward C. Judd, 83, was killed in the crash on Monday morning near the intersection of state Route 76 and El Camino Real. The pilot was flying alone, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

According to witnesses who saw the plane take off, it appeared that an engine went out. A fellow pilot said that Judd wasn't flying anywhere in particular; rather, he was just taking the plane for a quick spin to keep the engine serviceable.

His daughter was in Oceanside on Wednesday with her husband and was allowed by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to see the plane and crash site up close.

"I think he did everything he could to protect life in this incident. I'm sure he was trying to save his own too and trying to get his aircraft out unscathed," Roberts said.

She said her father served 40 years as a United Airlines captain and never wanted to retire.

"This was the way he kept going to work, tending to his Baron," his daughter said. 

She said her dad was 83 going on 45 and loved cycling and volleyball.  He was even signed up to play in a volleyball tournament this weekend.

"My father was an incredible pilot and a very vivacious man," Roberts said.

Judd was a former World War II pilot as well, according to a pilot who knew him. He added that Judd was one of the most experienced pilots that flew out of the Oceanside Airport. The pilot also believed he was the last person to talk to Judd.

Judd's address is listed in a gated community in San Clemente, not far from President Richard Nixon's former residence.

The small plane, possibly a twin-engine Beechcraft Baron, crashed and burned in a field near Oceanside Airport around 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to FAA officials.

Michael Drake of the San Diego County Department of Public Works told a local television news reporter that there was a lot of smoke and fire visible after the aircraft came down. The crash occurred very near San Luis Rey Elementary School, which was not in session, according to the North County Times.

Aerials of the crash site showed a team of firefighters spraying foam on the wreckage with some flames still visible. The tail appeared to still be intact. The ground around the plane was scorched by fire.

Oceanside is an airport where pilots need to be careful when they’re flying around, according to NBCSanDiego anchor Jason Austell, who flew in helicopters around San Diego for years covering traffic.

The airport is just north of SR-76, west of the old drive-in theater, and is considered an uncontrolled airport, meaning it doesn’t have a control tower. Instead, pilots communicate their intentions on an open frequency.

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