SHALIMAR — At 11 a.m. Wednesday, Kevin Camilli, a director of Shalimar- and Destin-based Grey Aviation Advisors and Solutions Inc., was anxiously awaiting word on whether it was his company’s plane that had gone down in Bay County.
At shortly after 2 p.m. the news arrived, and it was tragic.
The Bay County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Camilli’s co-director in the company, Eli Larry Caison, 52, of Palm Beach Gardens, was the pilot killed when a Beechcraft Bonanza G36 crashed at about 7:30 a.m. some 200 yards east of the Sandy Creek Air Park near Panama City.
Caison, who Camilli said grew up in the Destin area, had been scheduled to fly to Northwest Florida “sometime this week” from his South Florida home, Camilli said.
“He (Caison) was a good pilot,” Camilli said.
The plane belonging to Grey Aviation Advisors Solutions took off from South Florida shortly before 6 a.m. Wednesday, records show. Its flight plan would have brought it to Destin Airport at 7:57 a.m.
Camilli described the plane Caison was flying as “fairly new.”
The company’s website describes Grey Aviation Advisors and Solutions Inc. as “a small Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned business located in Shalimar, Florida, USA.”
The Florida Division of Corporations website lists an office address on Harbor Boulevard in Destin.
Its owners, the website said, are former special operations pilots “with backgrounds that include, but are not limited to, Special Mission activities, aviation instruction, safety, and development of tactics, techniques and procedures.”
The company’s work includes “airborne surveillance and special missions,” the website said.
“We deliver mission enhancement aircraft, consultancy, training, risk assessment/risk management, and physical services to supplement missions, exercises and training of US military, law enforcement, interagency, and coalition partners,” the website said.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution mentioned the company in a 2010 article after it played a key role in bringing 10 Georgia missionaries home following a devastating earthquake in Haiti.
Camilli and Caisson quickly organized a flight into a makeshift runway near Port-au-Prince and ferried the group home to Atlanta at no charge, the article said.