Pilot found dead at crash site near Snoqualmie Pass

Issaquah resident Jerry Riedinger was declared missing Sunday night after failing to arrive at his destination.

The Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Air Search and Rescue concluded their search for a missing pilot on May 20 after discovering the aircraft wreckage sight near Humpback Mountain, according to a WSDOT update.

Jerry Riedinger — the 69-year-old pilot — was found dead at the scene of the crash.

“WSDOT offers our sincere condolences to the entire Riedinger family for their loss,” WDSOT wrote.

WSDOT said on Sunday (May 19) that the plane, a 2001 Extra Flugzeugbau 300/L with the tail number 22MW, took off from the Arlington Municipal Airport at 4:30 p.m., but never arrived at its intended destination, the Ephrata Municipal Airport.

Riedinger’s wife reported him missing around 6 p.m. Sunday.

King County Search and Rescue and the King County Sheriff’s Office began searching near Interstate 90, according to WSDOT.

On Monday morning, a 50-person ground search, including one aircraft searching from the skies — led by WSDOT and its partners — is underway and focused on a concentrated area in the Humpback Mountains, west of the Snoqualmie Pass, where the pilot’s last known cellphone analytics were recovered.

Riedinger reportedly carried a parachute, and the aircraft was equipped with a new 406MHz Emergency Locator Transmitter.

“There has been no communication from the aircraft, and no emergency beacon signals have been received,” according to WSDOT. “Riedinger was the only known occupant.”

The King County Sheriff’s Office is expected to release more information about the crash and the rescue effort.

Riedinger, 69, of Issaquah, graduated with honors from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago in the early 1980s. He earned his license to practice law in Washington in 1996, according to the state bar association. He worked as an intellectual property attorney at Seattle firm Perkins Coie LLP for nearly 30 years, according to his LinkedIn. He also authored legal articles on patent and property litigation.

Riedinger represented Nintendo as a defendant in multiple cases, according to his website. He also represented Anacor Pharmaceuticals as a claimant, winning over $100 million in damages for his client in a dispute with Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

Outside of the courtroom, Riedinger learned to fly at age 18, according to an article in the East Oregonian newspaper. But it took him another three decades, he said, to become “a real pilot.”

“Because if you can’t fly it upside down, say those who fly aerobatic aircraft, you’re not really a pilot,” read a newspaper profile of aerobatic aviators in Oregon from 2018.

He had learned how to do aerial tricks, like spins and split-S maneuvers, while reapplying for his pilot license.

“It was so much fun, and it was aerobatics ever since,” he told the Oregon newspaper.

Riedinger and his wife Peggy both served as board members and national judges of the International Aerobatics Club. Riedinger was a longtime competitor in the Northwest Region, in the advanced category.

Daily Herald reporter Maya Tizon contributed to this report.

WSDOT is concentrating search efforts in the Humpback Mountains west of Snoqualmie Pass. (Courtesy image)

WSDOT is concentrating search efforts in the Humpback Mountains west of Snoqualmie Pass. (Courtesy image)