Son of plane crash victim talks about father's legacy, loss - | WBTV Charlotte

Son of plane crash victim talks about father's legacy, loss

HICKORY, NC (WBTV) -

One day after a tragic plane crash ended 83-year-old George Harris’ life, his son described the man who loved flying and lit up a room.

The Hickory resident was piloting his antique plane yesterday when it crashed into the BB&T in Longview. Engine failure is believed to be at fault.

“I’d like to see him again,” George Harris Jr. told WBTV.

Harris Jr. is trying to remember the countless memories that surrounded his namesake.

“If you asked him, how you doing Mr. Harris? And his leg was broke, he would say fantastic and he would draw it out. He would say, I’m fantastic,” he said. 

Harris learned to fly in the Air Force. According to his son, his prized possessions were his two sons, four granddaughters and a shiny red 1944 single engine plane. The Culver PQ-14A was one of only four still in existence. 

“He had it ever since I can remember. That was his toy,” he said.

But Saturday afternoon, the WWII era plane looked a lot different after the accident. Witnesses say they heard the engine sputtering overhead before the plane went down.

Harris' family knows their father and grandfather died doing what he loved.

“That’s the first sentence in his obituary. He loved to fly,” he said.

Parents watching their children play soccer at a field nearby told WBTV they saw Harris circling overhead, but they believe he avoided landing there to prevent a bigger tragedy. That doesn't surprise his son. 

“Absolutely. He always cared more about other people than he did himself,” Harris said. 

The NTSB is still investigating the crash. Online records show Harris had the medical clearance to fly.

Funeral services will be held at Oakwood Cemetery on Friday. 

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