The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating an accident involving a student pilot killed after he exited an airplane and was struck by the propeller.
The 26-year-old Chinese national, whose name is not being released until his family is notified, died Saturday at about 6:30 p.m. on the runway of Castle Airport. He was a student at the Sierra Academy of Aeronautics.
Merced County Sheriff's spokesman Tom MacKenzie said the student had flown to Visalia with another student, though neither was certified to fly with a passenger. When the students landed, he said they feared they had been seen by a fuel tank driver.
One fled on foot and the victim, in the co-pilot's seat, was walking around the plane to get in the pilot's seat when he was struck in the head by the propeller.
Yahya said the victim was a good student and had no problems with his training.
There are about 200 students at the Sierra Academy of Aeronautics.