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Missing pilot gushed about first solo trip before family died in plane crash

by Staff
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The pilot who is presumed to have been killed along with his wife and 12-year-old daughter when their small rented plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico shared his elation about completing his first solo flight in his last Facebook post.

Christian Kath, 42, — who remains missing after the Piper Cherokee went down on Saturday during a trip from St. Petersburg to Venice — had gushed about completing his first solo flight on his way to getting his wings on March 21, People magazine reported.

“I flew solo for the first time today! Felt so proud to finally achieve something I’ve been wanting to do since I was 8 years old,” the proud aviator wrote on Facebook.

Kath was a relatively novice pilot, earning his private license on July 31, according to FAA records.

Christian Kath, 42, remains missing after the plane crash that claimed the lives of his wife, Misty, 43, and 12-year-old daughter Lily.
Facebook / Christian Kath
Christian Kath after his first solo
“Felt so proud to finally achieve something I’ve been wanting to do since I was 8 years old,” Kath wrote after his first solo.
Facebook / Christian Kath

“I flew solo for the first time today! Felt so proud to finally achieve something I’ve been wanting to do since I was 8 years old,” the proud aviator wrote on Facebook.

Kath shared that he had been taking lessons since December 2021 and was about halfway through his quest to earn his PPL.

“Thanks for putting up with my early morning lessons and late night studying Misty Kath; it will all feel worth while when we can fly to the Keys for a weekend away with Lily and Harper soon,” he wrote.

Misty replied: “So, so proud of you!!! I cannot wait for all our flying adventures.”

Christian and Misty Kath
The family was flying back to St. Petersburg after a dinner trip to Venice when the plane went down, officials said.
Facebook / Christian Kath
Christian Kath standing on the wing of a plane
Kath was a relatively novice pilot, earning his private license on July 31, according to FAA records.
Facebook / Christian Kath

The single-engine aircraft slammed into the water shortly after it took off from Venice Municipal Airport for its flight back to Albert Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg, according to the FAA.

The bodies of his wife, Misty Kath, 43, and their daughter Lily, 12, were recovered Sunday, Venice police said.

Recreational boaters found the mother’s body floating about 2.5 miles west of Venice Beach, official said.

The body of Lily, a student at Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, was later recovered by divers from the submerged wreckage.

“Obviously when you lose one of your own it hurts,” Mark Cervasio, director of the Venice Municipal Airport, told WWSB.

Crash site in the Gulf
The Piper Cherokee crashed in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday.
Venice Police Department

Gregory Haman, director of Flight Operations for Agape Flights who flies out of Venice Airport, also shared his thought about the tragedy.

“I got a family and a small airplane, two boys of my own, a lot of times we’ll fly to St. Petersburg for dinner,” Haman told the news outlet.

“My heart breaks on multiple levels both as a pilot, as a dad and as a husband. It’s a sad thing, it’s a tragic thing anytime you have loss of life, for me it definitely hits close to home,” he said.

The experienced pilot speculated on what led to the deadly accident.

“Loss of power, I understand that it was after dark, depending on the experience level of the pilot,” Haman said. “A lot of times when you’re taking off over the Gulf at night there is zero reference to the horizon, especially on a dark night, that could’ve played a possibility.”

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