The pilot reported missing after he took off from Guntersville Municipal Airport was found Friday after his plane crashed in Florida.
Airport manager Bob Martin told WAAY-31 the pilot, and close friend, 77-year-old William Greenhaw, left the airport Wednesday afternoon to visit his son in Melbourne, FL, but never arrived.
Martin says Greenhaw sent his son a text message at about 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, saying that he was going to be late because of some head winds. Martin says that was his last transmission.
When Greenhaw never arrived in Melbourne, his son reported him missing.
According to the Dixie County Sheriff's Office, the last time they were able to get a signal from Greenhaw's plane was around 8:00 p.m. Thursday.
Greenhaw's body and the wreckage were found around 10:00 a.m. Friday by local authorites north of Cross City, Florida.
Law enforcement found the plane using drones.
Dixie County Emergency Management also responded to the scene on Friday.
Officials say Greenhaw was killed on impact. An autopsy is scheduled.
Deputies tell us that the Federal Aviation Administration arrived on scene around 4:00 p.m. Friday to inspect the plane, and the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.
According to Martin, Greenhaw worked at the Guntersville Municipal Airport for several years, overseeing the museum and working on planes.
He says Greenhaw was friends with everyone.
“The word is out and it’s devastating to the aviation community in this part of the country that knew and worked with Bill," Martin said.
Martin told WAAY 31 he can't imagine the airport without Greenhaw, saying, "Bill was Guntersville Airport, let's face it."
He told us the airport is not only losing an employee, but they're losing a dear friend as well.
“Bill has been very active out here for many, many, many years, in tremendous ways, just everybody’s friend, good to work with, can’t say enough good things about my friend, Bill," he said.
Greenhaw was well-known in the aviation community and was the acting President of Experimental Aircraft Association in Guntersville.
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