CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The pilot of a plane that was reported missing after it took off from a Statesville airport Monday morning has been identified.
According to South River UMC Facebook page and to the Maher family, Guy Maher was flying the plane before it was found crashed in Rowan County hours later.
Police say the plane was heading to the Twin Lakes Airport in Davie County when it took off from the Statesville Regional Airport around 9 a.m. At 8 p.m., officials confirmed the plane was found crashed on Cool Springs Road, just north of Woodleaf in Rowan County.
The owner authorized Maher to fly the plane from the Statesville Regional Airport and watched the plane depart before driving to the destination.
According to police, the owner drove to Twin Lakes Airport - a 15-minute flight from Statesville - to pick up the pilot and bring him back to Statesville but the plane was not at the airport.
The owner had friends searching in the air and the Civil Air Patrol was activated to help with the search.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) weere at the scene Tuesday morning to investigate.
Pete Wentz of the NTSB described the plane as “experimental.”
“So it’s an amateur built, experimental aircraft. It’s not an aircraft like a Piper or a Cessna that’s made in a manufacturer," Wentz said.
According to the Rowan Fire Marshal, the pilot was a well-known member of the community.
Maher was an experienced pilot and spent several years flying a medical helicopter.
“He was a good neighbor, intelligent fellow, had a lot of experience flying,” said neighbor Jim Greene. “He had a helicopter at his house for years. He played organ at church and was an integral part of the church. Guy was a man of many talents.”
“If he was told to check something twice, he would check it twelve times. Anybody that’s flown with Guy said it was the most pleasant experience because they knew they were in safe hands with Guy,” said Reverend A.J. Moore of South River UMC. “He’s going to leave a big impact and his loss is going to be felt, big ripples.”
No further information has been released.