The Florida Wing of the Civil Air Patrol is searching for a pilot and his plane who left for the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport Saturday, but never made it there.
Theodore Weiss took off in his Sonex homebuilt airplane Saturday morning from the Marion County Airport in Dunellon, and was supposed to arrive in Zephyrhills that afternoon. However, he never arrived, according to Maj. Joseph Tomasone with the Civil Air Patrol.
The organization, a civilian auxiliary to the U.S. Air Force based in Lakeland, conducted air searches on Monday, and are continuing with both air and ground searches today. It is unclear if anyone else was on board with Weiss when he took off over the weekend.
The plane is described as white with green and black stripes. It’s a fixed-wing, single-engine plane with two seats, according to aviation tracking site FlightAware, and was purchased by Weiss in February 2012. It was originally owned by a Georgia man in 2006, and changed hands a couple times before ending up with Weiss.
Sonex planes are self-build kit planes manufactured out of Oshkosh, Wis. The planes themselves have a range of between 400 and 550 miles depending on the engine used, according to the Sonex Aircraft website. They can fly between 16,000 and 23,000 feet.
Weiss was based out of the Zephyrhills airport, according to a news posting last year from the Florida Sonex Association. Club founder Mike January said in the early 2013 story that Weiss was working on some “tweaks” to his plane, and that it was “obvious that Ted Weiss has the knowledge and means to do it right when it comes to aircraft as he has completed many projects in the past.”
Weiss was reportedly in Dunnellon for the association’s Spring Sonex Fest, an informal gathering of area Sonex pilots.
Anyone with information is asked to contact their local sheriff’s office. The non-emergency number for the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office is (727) 844-7711.