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CATPASS 200s

In June 1987, Larry Risley searched for a pressurized airplane to replace Mesa’s Beechcraft C-99s. He purchased two Beechcraft Super King Airs (B-200s) that had been modified by a company called Commuter Air Transport. The modifications were made by adding Raisbeck four-bladed propellers, an external cargo pod, and installing thirteen passenger seats. They called the modified airplane the CATPASS 200 (Commuter Air Transport - Passenger plane 200).


Risley obtained two personal registration numbers, N911LR and N63JR (Larry and Janie’s initials). These tail numbers changed in 1988 when Mesa went to a registration number system that used the airplane serial numbers plus Mesa’s two-letter airline code (YV). As a result, N911LR became N123YV and N63JR became N39YV.


Mesa leased the two CATPASS airplanes to Air LA in late 1988. A few months later, Mesa sent the Director of Operations, Ken Widger, and the Chief Pilot, Larry Oswald, to the Los Angeles area to repossess the two airplanes. Larry Oswald was piloting N39YV on the return trip and he crashed into the San Gabriel Mountains north of Azusa, California. Larry was killed and the airplane destroyed. The sister airplane, N123YV, returned to Mesa and was operated in passenger service for several months. It left Mesa in early 1990 and flew for a Dutch company called Tulip Air. It remains in service today as a live TV-relay platform for a French company called Aero Sotravia.










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