ULSTER — A Germantown doctor lost his life Saturday doing what he loved.

Podiatrist Michael Faraldi, 38, had spent a few days in Nashville trading in an old general aviation plane for a new training jet. Faraldi's first and last flight with the BAC Strikemaster 167 would be an aborted return trip to the Columbia County Airport.

Dr. Ken Newman watched his best friend make a low pass over Kingston-Ulster airport at 1:32 p.m. Ken and his wife Melissa were planning to take a short jaunt over to Columbia County to welcome Faraldi home and see the new plane.

But the plane's engine lost thrust during a 90 degree vertical climb immediately following the fly over, which, according to state police, caused the jet to abruptly turned downward and plunge into the Hudson River.

Newman ended up watching the whole thing.

“This is not happening in front of me,” Newman thought. “This can't be real.”

But it was.

Police hope to locate Faraldi's body Sunday morning and extract the submerged plane, owned by Delaware-based Dragon Aviation, from the Hudson.

The crash left Donna Faraldi without a husband, and their two and five-year-old daughters without a father.

“He was loved by everyone who knew him,” said Newman, who met Faraldi 14 years ago when he was a recent undergraduate training at a hospital.

Faraldi introduced Newman to aviation in the early 2000's and, a couple of years later, got him involved with Angel Flight, an organization that provides free air transport to chemotherapy patients in need of treatment at a distant medical center. Faraldi would fly several patients a year, Newman said.

The calls piled up on Newman's cell phone Saturday from family and friends wishing to pass along the bad news or condolences. By 8:30 p.m., there were 107 missed calls.

Dr. Marc Tack met Faraldi a couple of years after Newman, when Faraldi was completing his residency at Kingston's Benedictine Hospital.

“He was a caring, compassionate doctor,” Tack said. “He always had a smile on his face.”

Faraldi would encourage Tack, a Kingston-based infectious disease specialist, to join him for a short ride during a lunch break, or offer to fly Tack to Plattsburgh to see his son at university. Faraldi had conducted foot and ankle surgeries in Rhinebeck for the past several years.

“It's a devastating loss for the community,” Tack said. “Mike was a great asset.”