Two Embry-Riddle faculty members were killed Saturday morning in a midair collision over the Prescott Valley in Arizona. Robert W. Sweginnis, chairman of the Aviation Science Department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Prescott campus, and Michael E. Corradi, chief flight instructor, were reportedly practicing an aerobatic routine in preparation for the upcoming Prescott Air Fair when they apparently clipped wings. Both were flying American Champion Decathlons, according to press reports.
"This is a tremendous loss to the university," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Our hearts go out to their families and to the ERAU faculty and students." In 1997 AOPA and Embry-Riddle formed a landmark alliance that provides AOPA benefits and services to complement the aviation education of Embry-Riddle students.
Both men were retired Air Force officers and Vietnam veterans, according to the Arizona Republic. Sweginnis flew F4s and helped design the A10 before retiring as a lieutenant colonel. He was a recognized expert in accident investigation and a nationally ranked aerobatic pilot.
Corradi flew fighter-bombers and retired from the Air Force as a major. Both men joined the ERAU staff in 1991.
"They were outstanding pilots and best friends," Sean Jeralds, who chairs the flight training department, told the Arizona Republic. "Their passion for flying rubbed off on the pilots they taught and everyone they met."
The university is planning a memorial service for the two, and the air show, scheduled for October, may include an observance in remembrance.
August 29, 2004