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‘Hero’ Pilot Flew By The Book

August 23, 1995 GMT

DUBLIN, Ga. (AP) _ Ed Gannaway’s friends had no doubt that the pilot stayed calm when his commuter plane developed engine trouble with 28 others aboard.

``Anything he did, he did better than anyone else,″ said Jimmy Allgood, a former boss who frequently flew with Gannaway. ``I don’t think Ed would set out to be a hero, but when it came to taking care of others, that’s what he did.″

Gannaway and four passengers died Monday after the pilot maneuvered his Atlantic Southeast Airlines plane past houses, trees and power lines before crash-landing in a hayfield. Twenty-four people survived.

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``If you want a headline, you put down that Ed Gannaway was a hero,″ said his friend Jeff Davis. ``A lot of people lived because he kept his head and got that thing on the ground.″

Gannaway, 45, had been with ASA about 6 1/2 years and had 10,000 hours of flying time.

``I’ve been with Ed hunting ducks,″ said Brantley New, a friend who was serving as the family spokesman. ``We’d get lost in the swamp and Ed would pull out his compass and get us out. He had an unbelievably cool head.″

In Dublin, a town of 20,000 in rural east-central Georgia, about 200 people visited Gannaway’s house Monday to console his wife, Jackie, and three sons: Craig, 16, Russell, 14, and Rob, 9. The family was in seclusion Tuesday.

``Even though he loved life, Ed would have rather died than know any of his passengers had been killed,″ said Johnny Payne, a friend and Boy Scout leader for Gannaway’s two oldest sons.

Raised in Winston-Salem, N.C., Gannaway moved to Dublin about 18 years ago. He worked as general manager of a pest control company with Allgood until about 10 years ago, when he decided to become a pilot.

An avid runner, he often jogged around the jetport and had competed in the Boston and New York City marathons.

Gannaway coached youth teams for the recreation department and was active in Boy Scouts. He was a skilled woodworker and a regular at First United Methodist Church.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete.