Pilot Steve Wass, 42, of Gardnerville, and the other two members of his crew, died on June 17, 2002, when their C-130 air tanker’s wings snapped off and crashed after dropping fire retardant on the Cannon Fire in Walker, California. He joined Hawkins and Powers Aviation in 1984 and by June 17 had logged 9,455 hours in a cockpit.
Steve Wass was born and raised in Gardnerville and headed towards a career in aviation at an early age. He earned his single engine pilot’s license at 16 and was flying charters two years later. He earned certificates as an airline transport pilot and flight instructor for both single and multi-engine aircrafts.
Steve loved playing electric and acoustic guitar and performed with friends around the region. He was also an avid firearm and gadget collector, with a small collection of vehicles that he accumulates as “transportation vehicles” to get him to work and back.
Steve Wass was survived by his parents, sister, brother Jeff, and stepdaughter.