By Jorge Casuso
January 30 – The two men who died in a fiery crash on the runway at Santa Monica Airport Wednesday evening when their single-engine plane likely lost power were successful Internet entrepreneurs who loved flying and worked for companies specializing in air travel.
The pilot, Paulo Emanuele, who is thought to be 46, was the general manager of the airliners.net web site and an “amazing pilot,” according to a statement on the aviation news site he worked for.
Martin Schaedel, who never revealed his age but is thought to have been about 23, was a consultant to FareCompare, a web site that compares airline fares, and a frequent flier who routinely logged more than 100,000 miles a year, according to press reports.
The Los Angeles County Coroner has not yet officially identified the bodies or determined the cause of death. An autopsy should be conducted Friday or Saturday, a spokesperson said.
“They are still John Does at this point,” she said.
A fire destroyed most of the plane making it difficult to identify the bodies, officials said.
Emanuele, according to a posting on Airliners.net, "will be remembered for his passion, his kindness and his love for life." (http://www.airliners.net/paulo/)
"Paulo was an amazing pilot, an amazing photographer, an amazing friend and an amazing father,” the posting said. “He will be deeply missed. . . .We know you will be smiling down on us."
Schaedel, who was born in Sweden and stayed with friends during his global treks, was staying with a friend in West Hollywood, according to reports. He had left a meeting with an internet company in Santa Monica and headed for the local airport.
“I used to be a partner in a Venture capital - Seed fund company, and i am now mainly focus on Buyouts/M&A,” reads a brief bio Schaedel posted on his blog.
“I live nowhere, originally from Sweden, then lived in London, Shanghai and briefly in Tokyo. I love new ideas and have been online for as long as i can remember (94 that is...) what this blog is about i have no idea, but i doubt it's the end of the Internet.”
The red, single-engine Marchetti SF-260 airplane the two men were in crashed at the west end of the runway shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to airport officials.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, but agency officials believe the plane lost engine power shortly after takeoff.
The airplane was registered to Malibu-based Wingspan Inc. and based at Santa Monica Airport, said Airport Manager Bob Trimborn
Witnesses said the plane was in trouble immediately after take off, the engine sputtering as it climbed.
"Then the engine went completely silent," Loren Drake was quoted in a report issued by Friends of Sunset Park (FOSP).
Drake, who had been standing across from Clover Park, said the plane rolled to its left, then went straight down from perhaps 600 feet up, according to the report. The plane exploded into flames on impact.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident.