An Arizona State University researcher has been identified as the pilot who died when a small plane went down Friday, January 9, 2015, on a Los Angeles street, officials said. The deceased pilot was identified as Alberto Behar, 47, of Scottsdale, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner.
Behar was an employee at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and also a researcher at ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration. Behar was involved in the NASA Curiosity rover that uses scientific instruments to gather information on Mars and helped to prove that there had once been water on Mars. His research involved a Russian-made instrument that detected hydrogen beneath the rover, according to an ASU press release in 2013. According to Dailymail, Behar worked for NASA at the JPL in Pasadena for 23 years and had worked upon two missions to Mars
He also received a patent in 2011 for developing a robot that could operate in zero gravity. He was a certified helicopter flight instructor, commercial airplane pilot and was certified as a scientific and rescue diver.
Behar was pronounced dead at the scene Friday, just outside the Van Nuys Airport, said Sgt. Barry Montgomery, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department. Montgomery said the Lancair did not hit any vehicles or structures as it went down on the busy street shortly after 1 p.m., and that no other injuries were reported.
Behar’s name has now been added to a very long list of scientists and astronomers who died under suspicious circumstances.Did he know something, that no one wanted out?