Memorials planned for American pilots killed in Al Ain

Funerals and memorials for the four men killed in an Al Ain plane crash last week are scheduled for this weekend.

ABU DHABI //Funerals and memorials for the four American pilots who died in a plane crash in Al Ain last week will be held this weekend in the United States.

The four men were killed instantly when their vintage seaplane crashed onto the taxiway shortly after take-off from Al Ain International Airport on February 27. The plane, a rare McKinnon G21G turboprop plane owned by Texas-based Triple S Aviation, was to take the men to Saudi Arabia for the first leg of a trip that would have taken them to North Africa, South America and the US.

A funeral and memorial service for Joshua Hucklebridge, 28, the international project manager for Triple S, will be held in Texas today. The family asks that donations in lieu of flowers be sent to Trinity Christian Academy, Mr Hucklebridge's high school alma mater. The funds will be designated for the Joshua Hucklebridge Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Landon Studer, 28, the owner and founder of Triple S, will be honoured at a Saturday service in Texas. A military service will follow on Sunday. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to the Landon Gabriel Studer Foundation for Aviation Heritage and Education in Addison, Texas.

In a statement posted on the Triple S website, the company said it would continue operations, including at its Dubai-based branch.

"In memorial to Landon and Joshua, The Triple S Aviation family, in partnership with the Studer family, will continue to operate and conduct business as our lost colleagues envisioned it," the statement reads. "Triple S Aviation is open for business as it continues that passion for aviation ingrained within our founder."

A combined memorial service for Chuck Kimes, 61, and Tyler Orsow, 25, will be held in California on Sunday. The families of Mr Kimes and Mr Orsow ask that donations be sent to the Vegas Skate Outreach Program, a group that allows at-risk youth to give back to their community by donating lunches to the homeless. The group was started by Mr Kimes's business partner and friend, Ray Wolfe.

"Tyler touched so many people's lives and so many have fond memories to share," wrote Mr Orsow's mother, Terry Campbell, on a memorial website for the two pilots. "I was truly blessed to have such an incredible son and to have had the close relationship we shared. I know that life will never be the same without him."

A preliminary report on the crash is expected within the next week, a General Civil Aviation Authority spokeswoman said yesterday. Emirati and US authorities are working together on the investigation.