SOUTH RIVER — The governor of a woman's pilot club says the plane crash in South River Sept. 16 that killed two of its members has devastated those that knew them.
They were arriving for the next day’s start of the annual 2021 Gold Cup Air Rally sponsored by The East Canada Section Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots. The group promotes the advancement of aviation through education, scholarships, and mutual support and shares a passion for flight.
The two people onboard, owner-pilot Susan Begg, 73, from the Ottawa area, and pilot Asti Livingston, 45, from Niagara-on-the-Lake did not survive the afternoon accident.
"Members of the Ninety-Nines Inc, family, and friends are devastated by the loss of these exceptionally talented women," says Kim Winsor, Governor, East Canada Section Ninety-Nines
"Owner/pilot Susan Begg (Eastern Ontario Chapter) past Governor and Chapter Chair and pilot Asti Livingston, (First Canadian Chapter) and past Chapter Chair, were long-time members of the Ninety-Nines Inc. They were experienced pilots and were well respected and loved within the aviation community," she said.
“Supporting each other, we will get through this and keep our passion for aviation as Susan and Asti would want us to.”
Livingston is survived by four children.
Following the accident, the planned event was cancelled and members scattered maple leaves over the water of Eagle Lake as a silent tribute to their fallen sisters.
The Gold Cup is an annual cross-country event for women pilots involving aviation-related questions including calculations of fuel consumption, navigational questions, and spot landings.
The aircraft was located not far from the airpark by the Canadian Armed Forces Search and Rescue unit based at CFB Trenton,
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has also deployed a team of investigators to the accident site.
A close friend of Asti Livingston, Gail Bevilacqua told BayToday that she was a "force of life" always with several projects on the go.
"She'd been studying aviation law, jet engines, and commercial aviation," says Bevilacqua. "I don't know whether she finished writing her feature
film script but I know she had met with some producers and other film people at this year's TIFF. She had plans and they were always big. She maintained a trajectory that would have gotten her to each one....yes, she had multiple goals. That was Asti. She was talented in all that she did and she did a lot!"
She once sang for the Pope at the Vatican in Rome.
Bevilacqua describes her friend as very generous.
"She was kind to those around her; often treating people, and by people, I mean a group of people, to whatever would bring them joy. At the Air Race Classic (2019), being the only Canadian represented (with Susan Begg), Asti treated all the American pilots to poutine when she found out they had never tried it! She was always doing things like that. That was Asti! She was a great ambassador of kindness."
Livingston's web page says Asti was born in a fort in the Philippines on April 21, 1976. She is the oldest of two children and is a descendant of the warrior clan Tjokrodiwirio and the Indonesian royal family Kusumadiningrat.
She said, "You only have one shot in life, make the most of it! Shoot for the stars!!!"