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Pilot Ara Zobayan
Pilot Ara Zobayan Facebook

Former colleagues of Ara Zobayan, the pilot in the deadly helicopter crash, are remembering him today.

Kurt Deetz recognized Zobayan’s voice right away when he heard the ATC tower recording. The had a jovial working relationship.

Zobayan was outspoken, he said, a presence with a distinctive voice and big personality. Deetz declined to comment on Zobayan’s experience flying but said he trusted him enough to fly with him.

Another fellow pilot, Jared Yochim, told CNN that he too recognized Zobayan’s voice on the recordings. “There’s a reason that people wanted to fly with him,” Yochim said. “He was just a cool, calm guy.”

Yochim said the news of the pilot’s death has shaken a small, tight-knit community of helicopter pilots. He and Deetz cautioned against arm-chair speculation about what may have happened. 

“We need to wait for [authorities] to complete an investigation. There may be lessons to be learned,” Yochim said.

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