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Canadian Press
10/12/2006 9:51:20 PM

MONTREAL (CP) - Alexei Kovalev has no intention of giving up piloting a small airplane, despite baseball pitcher Cory Lidle's fatal accident.

The star winger for the Montreal Canadiens logs between 80 and 100 hours of flying time per year in his own small plane, a Cessna 414 twin engine. And Kovalev, who has had his pilot's licence for nine years, said Thursday he does not expect NHL teams to ask players to give up flying.

"Everybody has life insurance," he said. "There's nothing to prevent athletes from doing something they like to do."

"I don't see myself surrounded by four walls doing nothing, just focusing on the hockey game."

Kovalev flew up to Montreal for training camp in his plane from his off-season home in New York, where he has often flown. But he has never come close to hitting a building, as Lidle's plane did for as yet unknown reasons on Wednesday.

"I always try to stay on the safe side," he said. "As many times as I flew around New York, I've never gone that close to the buildings."

"I don't know what happened - if it was a control problem or something else. There's a lot of things it could be. But even if you have engine or control problems, these planes have a new item which is a parachute, which could have been deployed, and they didn't use that. Maybe it was malfunction."

Kovalev said he has flown at least 13 types of plane and three types of helicopter. He attends safety courses in Florida every summer.

His former teammate Joe Juneau, now retired, also flew his own planes. Kovalev said he didn't know how many other players were pilots.

The Russian winger said he was "addicted" to flying after his first flight around New York with a friend, but his wife only agreed to buying a plane after he told her one day he wanted a motorcycle.

"My wife said 'I'd rather see you flying' and I said 'OK.' So I jumped in the car, bought some books, met an instructor and started the next day," he said.

"Why do a lot of athletes learn to fly? After Sept. 11, what you go through with security at airports and getting recognized by people, it's kind of hard to travel. Life is easier when you have your own plane. You throw your stuff in, take off and land anywhere you want."

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=180581&hubname=nhl
 

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Daniel Alfredsson as well is taking flying lessons and is planning on flying too.

I don't think it's a big deal. I'm positive that most who could afford to purchase themselves their own aircrafts, would be doing so in a heartbeat.

What happened in new york was a freak accident. Nothing more.

It's like trying to tell people in London to stop taking the tube, just because there was a terrorist attack there.
Tragedies happen. I don't see why you'd want to stop living your life because of that, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm sure it can't be any worse than a car accident, and those happen 365 day's a year!! People haven't stopped buying vehicles or taking lessons!!
 

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panoo2004 said:
I'm sure it can't be any worse than a car accident, and those happen 365 day's a year!! People haven't stopped buying vehicles or taking lessons!!
Well said.
 
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