TROY Friends and co-workers of Westerlo businessman Jim F. Quinn remembered the avid aviator Wednesday after he died of injuries suffered in an Aug. 15 single-engine plane crash in Clifton Park.
Quinn, a noted attorney, certified public accountant and developer, died Tuesday in Albany Medical Center Hospital at age 68. It was his 47th wedding anniversary. Police credited Quinn's flying skills for no one on the ground getting hurt or killed.
Passenger Walter F. Uccellini, the 67-year-old president of the United Group of Companies of Troy, was killed in the crash, which ultimately caused fatal head injuries to Quinn, who worked as vice chairman of the United Group.
"For two weeks, Jim fought valiantly to stay with us an effort that perfectly summarizes his character," the development firm wrote in a prepared statement Wednesday.
Quinn had logged 10,691 total hours of flying by March 1, and held an airline transport pilot certificate with multiple ratings, according to the NTSB.
He loved flying evenings and weekends with his wife and friends, and taught students to fly. Those he trained affectionately referred to themselves as "Quinn's Air Force."
"He was just such an advocate for aviation in every respect, and was a wonderful, generous person," said Barbara Jones, associate professor for aviation science at Schenectady County Community College. The United Group built housing at SCCC, and Quinn took the lead in including flight simulators and a flight planning room for students in SCCC's aviation program, she said.
He was senior vice president and chief financial officer at the Galesi Group in Guilderland, president of G. Ventures Management Co., in Wayne, N.J., and executive vice president and CFO at DCG Development Co. in Clifton Park before joining the United Group in 1996.
"Jim was a valued member of our team during a period of substantial growth," DCG President Don Greene said. "We join the rest of the Capital Region real estate community in extending our sincere sympathies to Jim's family."
At the United Group, Quinn helped direct all the company's development and financing projects, new acquisitions, and the development of new product lines.
"(Jim) was a longtime confidant of Walter, a trusted source of knowledge, and a man unafraid of asking the toughest of questions," the company's statement said. "Perhaps it is most fitting that Jim will be remembered over the long term as a man that put aside his own safety to ensure that no one was injured two weeks ago."
The six-passenger Beechcraft Bonanza carrying Quinn and Uccellini lost engine power a minute after taking off from Albany International Airport. As the aircraft lost altitude, Quinn tried to safely land the plane. But the aircraft hit power lines and trees, and crashed between two trees in the front yard of a home off Van Vranken Road in Clifton Park.
The two took off from the airport for a business trip to Plattsburgh at 7:24 a.m. Aug. 15, according to a preliminary report on the accident filed Monday by the National Transportation Safety Board.
One minute into the flight, as the plane reached an altitude of 1,100 feet, Quinn told air traffic controllers, "Eight Delta Romeo just lost our engine," according to the NTSB report.
No further transmissions were received, and the airport lost radar contact at an altitude of 300 feet, the NTSB said. The plane hit the ground at 7:27 a.m. Wreckage and other debris was spread around the crash site.
Quinn was born and raised on Long Island. He served in the Army from 1960 to 1964 before earning accounting degrees from Suffolk County Community College and Hofstra University. He received a master's degree in business administration from Hofstra in 1975 and a law degree from Touro College Law Center in Suffolk County.
The funeral is 10 a.m. Saturday in St. Lucy's/St. Bernadette's Church, 122 Grand St., Altamont. Burial will be in Long Island National Cemetery at a later date.
email@example.com 518-454-5353 @DAYusko