MONTICELLO — Authorities have identified the pilot involved in a fatal plane crash that occurred in Monticello on Saturday.
Jerry Naylor, 90, of Scotch Grove, crashed into a cornfield near the Monticello Regional Airport at 4 p.m., police said. Police found the plane about 50 yards from the airport’s runway.
According to Naylor’s son David, Naylor had been flying since 1945.
Along with being an avid flyer, Naylor was also a dedicated volunteer and community member.
Naylor served as a Camp Courageous board member since 1987.
“He was a very genuine, good and caring person. He was always up for an adventure,” said Charlie Becker, executive director at Camp Courageous.
Becker said Naylor’s spunk and willingness to help others will be missed.
“He will be greatly missed in the community and throughout the area. It’s a huge loss,” he said. “He was just one of those guys that even though he was 90 years old you wouldn’t think twice about asking him to help you with something because he would be right there to hustle and go, go, go.”
Naylor was vice president of the Naylor Seed Co., the family owned and operated business. He took over the company from his father Ray Naylor in 1948. According to the company’s website, Jerry Naylor helped revolutionize the seed industry through exceptional customer service, unsurpassed delivery schedules and methods and innovative blend breeding.
David Naylor is president of Naylor Seed Co. and a third-generation owner.
Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash. They said Naylor was piloting a Flight Design CTSW light-sport aircraft — a high-wing, three-wheeled airplane — and was fatally injured when the airplane hit terrain.
“Witnesses observed the airplane descending at a steep angle before crashing,” said Eric Weiss, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board.
According to Weiss, the investigation could take more than a year.
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The crash happened near Dixie Shady’s property. Shady said she didn’t realize anything had happened until she saw all of the emergency responders gathered.
“We have lived her since ’87 and I’ve never seen a plane go down here,” Shady said. “We are right beside the runway and planes come in and out all the time so if I hear a plane I don’t really think anything of it.
“It was quite shocking.”
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