Aug 11, 2014 8:05 PM by Ashlea Bullington
Sixty-year-old, Kenneth E. Squires died in New Iberia on August 11th after a plane he was flying crashed just north of US Highway 90. Squires was flying his Bell 47 helicopter, crop dusting the sugar cane fields. The Iberia Parish Coroner's Office pronounced him dead on the scene.
Squires had been flying planes since he was seventeen and crop dusting since 1979. "He was extremely skilled in the air. When I was told the news I was in disbelief," Acadiana Regional Airport's Air Traffic Controller, Wendy Carr said.
Ken was well known throughout Iberia Parish, being a former Iberia Parish Airport Commissioner and also running for state senate in 2011.
Ken was best known for his relentlessness when it came to bettering the aviation community. Commissioner of the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, Troy Hebert, told KATC "You knew that not only he had a passion for aviation but he had a vision. Along with, the knowledge of what an aircraft industry could bring and what good jobs it could bring to the Parish."
In 2009, Ken had been granted $450,000 in grant money to help build airplane hangers and a helicopter pad at the Jeanerette Airport. Councilman, David Ditch, described Ken as "relentless", saying he was a goal-oriented man and fought to achieve those goals.
Ken's daughter, Kim Maple, told KATC that aviation was her father's passion. She said he was the originator of helicopter crop dusting in Southern Louisiana. When he was not flying himself, Ken would teach others how to fly. He taught over 100 people to maneuver airplanes and helicopters through the skies.
His family said, Ken loved to read and learn about everything, describing him as a self-made man who worked hard for all he had in life.
"The Good Lord don't make anymore Ken Squires. That is the way it is! When you lose him you don't replace him," Hebert added.
The cause of the crash is still unknown. The Federal Aviation Association is working on a preliminary investigation with the Iberia Sheriff's Department.