Search for missing pilot continues

April 27, 2001 12:00 am

By MARK FURMAN

Of the Baker City Herald

More than six months have passed since anyone heard Brian Moodys voice.

But the search for his single-engine Cessna 206, ended last fall by snow and cloud cover, has resumed informally this spring.

His parents and friends are calling on people recreating in the area to help find Moodys plane.

Hunters and hikers and berry seekers whatever gets them out there, were just very hopeful something will be found, said Dick Moody, Brians father.

Moody, 34, was the sole owner of Baker Aircraft Inc. He was piloting a plane that disappeared in the Hells Canyon area Nov. 17, 2000.

Also aboard was Keith Williams, 29, of Spokane, Wash., an environmental assistant under contract to Idaho Power Company. The two were flying to complete work on a mule deer study commissioned by the power company.

Baker Aircraft has continued to honor its contract with Idaho Power. The company plans to discontinue operations May 18.

That contract has had pilots flying with wildlife biologists in the same area where Brian disappeared, Dick Moody said.

It has made business sense for Baker Aircraft to fulfill its contract, he said. But continuing the mule deer study also offers one of the best opportunities to continue the search for the missing plane.

Were very appreciative for all the volunteers who have been out, especially during the official search, said Beverly Moody, Brians mother. We know there are a lot of community people who go out and look who we arent even aware of.

Moody assumed ownership of Baker Aircraft in March 1997 after learning from pilot Eric Owen that the business was for sale.

Owen discovered Baker County after his father, Bruce Owen, a retired airline pilot, moved here to ranch.

(Brian Moody) and Eric Owen had both had sort of parallel careers in St. Paul (Minn.) in aviation, Dick Moody explained. Somehow through that connection Brian found out that Baker Aircraft was for sale.

Brian had always been an outdoorsman, loved the mountains, loved the water, his father added.

It was an opportunity that he decided to go for, his mother said.

The Moodys are proud of the work their son accomplished.

I think he had built up the business quite a bit over the first few years, his father said. I think he rekindled some interest in flying amongst some people who might have let it slide a bit.

Moody graduated Gustavus Adolphus College in St Peter, Minn., with a major in geography before pursuing aviation.

I teased him when he began flying lessons, his mother said, This sounds like graduate work.