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There's an bit of space in the air off of the SoCal coast, right near our West Coast office in San Pedro, that's reserved for aeronautic acrobatic stunts. David Hermance, 59, Toyota's top American exec for alt-fuel vehicles and emissions tech, was well known as a pilot who enjoyed a bit of the loop-de-looping in this bit of blue sky. Unfortunately, according to Mark Rechtin of Automotive News, Hermance took one loop too many yesterday, and the engine of the airplane he was piloting, an Interavia E-3,

...revved hard during a descent but the plane did not pull up and hit the water.

Rechtin, who heard the crash at his home in the San Pedro area, tells us Hermance spent 26 years at...

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...General Motors before heading over to ToMoCo in 1991, where he evaluated engines for its NorAm operations before being put in charge of engines and drivetrain calibrations, and finally to head up the alt-fuel team. The team stateside, because almost all of the engine design and manufacturing occurs in Japan, is primarily focused with discussions with Congress, the media and the Cali Air Resources Board. Hermance is survived by his wife and two grown children. [Hat tip to Jeff!]

Toyota hybrid exec David Hermance dies in plane crash (sub. req.) [Automotive News]

Related:
Toyota Seeks To Boost Prius Production By 50% In 2007 [internal]