Former NFL player Russ Francis killed in Sunday crash
By Mike Goodwin, Times Union
Former New England Patriot Russ Francis and an expert on aviation safety were killed in a plane crash Sunday at Lake Placid Airport, according to a local news report.
The Adirondack Enterprise reported Francis, who recently purchased the Lake Placid Airways scenic tour business, was one of the two people on board the plane when it crashed at 4:09 p.m.
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association confirmed Richard McSpadden, the organization’s senior vice president of air safety, also died in the crash.
The AOPA said the Cessna 177 Cardinal was trying to return to the airport after it “experienced an emergency after takeoff” but failed to reach the runway.
“Richard was a very accomplished pilot, including serving as commander of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds during his military career, and a trusted colleague, friend, son, husband, and father,” the organization wrote in a post on its website.
The National Transportation Safety Board says it is investigating the crash.
Francis, 70, played 167 games in the NFL. A tight end, Francis caught 40 touchdowns during a career that stretched from 1975 to 1988. He played for the Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers.