People who knew former Oklahoma quarterback Steve Davis say his passion for flying began before he arrived at the school and led the Sooners to back-to-back national championships in the 1970s.
He and friend Wes Caves, a Tulsa, Okla., businessman, were the flight crew on the private jet, owned by Caves, that crashed into a northern Indiana neighborhood, National Transportation Safety Board investigator Todd Fox said Monday. Davis, 60, and Caves, 58, died. Three others were injured, including two passengers.
Fox said he had minimal information about the pilots, but said both had pilots' certificates and both had multi-engine aircraft certificates. The voice box recorder was recovered and is being sent to Washington, D.C., for investigation, Fox said, adding that the NTSB doesn't know why the plane was headed to South Bend.
MORE: NTSB: Former Oklahoma QB, friend were flight crew
The same airplane had problems in Memphis earlier this month when former Manassas High School Football Coach Bill Courtney was flying to a public appearance in Tulsa.
Coach Courtney says it's surreal. He was on the same jet just over a week ago, flying with Davis and Caves.
"I will tell you it certainly gives you a new real perspective on making the best that you can of each day," Courtney told FOX13 news.
Coach Courtney was one of the subjects of the Academy Award-winning documentary "Undefeated." He has traveled around the country for speaking engagements. That's how he got to know Davis, who was a businessman and a star quarterback at Oklahoma from 1973-75.
Davis brought the coach to Tulsa to speak at a Fellowship of Christian Athlete's event.
"Steve, in particular, believes that and always believed that sports was a conduit to a much greater conversation about social issues and faith and working with one another and team work," Courtney said. "That's really what he exemplified."
Caves owned and piloted the jet. He flew Courtney to Tulsa for the FCA event.
When they were returning to Memphis they had some problems landing in bad weather.
"Something happened with the automatic pilot and evidently people on the ground knew there was a problem because when they got off and we were in the FBO, another pilot came to Wes and congratulated him on how well he handled whatever it was," Courtney recalled of last week's flight into Memphis.
He first heard about the crash Sunday night when a Tulsa newspaper contacted him. The Tulsa paper thought he may have been a passenger on the plane.
"It's just a reminder of the fact that each day gives us opportunity and we need to seize every minute because you just don't know," Courtney said.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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