Automotive News. David W. Hermance, Toyota’s executive engineer for advanced technology vehicles, died Saturday when the single-engine plane he was piloting crashed into the Pacific Ocean.
The Federal Aviation Administration reported Hermance’s plane to be an Interavia E-3, which took off from Long Beach Airport with only Hermance on board. The plane crashed at about 1:20 pm about 400 yards offshore. A spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department said that Hermance died on impact.
Hermance, 59, was Toyota’s top American executive for alternative-fuel vehicles and emissions technologies in North America. He was also a pilot who enjoyed aerobatics competition, according to the report by Automotive News.
Hermance was a frequent competitor in International Aerobatics Club competitions. The Interavia E-3 is specially designed to perform elaborate stunts at high speeds. Hermance often flew off the San Pedro coast to practice aerobatics maneuvers, which included loops, spirals and stalls.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the FAA classified the plane, which is designed for aerobatics, as experimental, meaning that it was assembled by amateurs or from a kit, or was a light-sport aircraft that hadn’t received a US or foreign airworthiness certificate.
The FAA has a total of five E-3 models registered.
Hermance, who started his career at GM, joined Toyota in 1991 as Senior Manager in Engine Evaluation, with responsibility for evaluating North American passenger car engines.