As the search for a Zephyrhills pilot and his plane concluded its fourth day, members of Civil Air Patrol’s Florida Wing and local officials have pushed their search further south into the Brooksville area.
Theodore Weiss was last seen taking off from a social pilot gathering in Dunellon Saturday in his two-seat, single-engine Sonex homebuilt plane, but never made it to the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport.
Radar, however, showed Weiss’ plane heading not to Zephyrhills, but toward the Hernando County Airport in Brooksville instead. That created questions among some observers on why he would stray off-course.
But officials with Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary to the U.S. Air Force, said such a flight path would be common for cautious pilots like Weiss flying in experimental planes.
“Mr. Weiss and the members of the Florida Sonex Association are cautious pilots,” said Maj. Willard Garman, CAP incident commander for the search, said in a release. “They routinely flew this particular route not only so that a nearby airport was always within each reach, but so that they nearby Suncoast Parkway was both a landmark and a potential emergency landing site.”
CAP officials said they were expanding their search area along the Brooksville route to see if Weiss may have flown further than his radar track indicated. That now expands the search area from Citrus to Hernando counties.
Weiss was first reported missing Monday when relatives and friends realized he never returned, and found his car still parked at the Zephyrhills airport with both Weiss and his plane missing.