By Scott Halasz and Nathan Pilling
XENIA — A Fairborn man has been identified as the pilot of a plane that crashed at the Greene County Airport Tuesday evening.
Joel Lansford, 33, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash by the Greene County Coroner’s Office, according to a release from the Xenia Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.
According to the state patrol, Lansford was piloting a Cirrus SR22T aircraft and was the sole occupant of the plane. The crash occurred approximately 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The airport was closed Wednesday as investigators were on the scene at the crash site throughout the day.
Lansford was described as a great pilot and flight instructor who had a strong faith. He used to work at the Springfield location of the Middletown Regional Flight Training Institute (MRFTI) as an instructor. The owner, Tim Epperhart, told WDTN that Lansford flew a lot and was well liked around the airport.
“When someone loses a person like Joel, it’s a loss for us all,” he said.
Xenia resident Lonnie Carpenter, also a pilot, met Lansford while teaching a reciprocating engines class at Sinclair Community College.
“Very smart guy, very gracious,” Carpenter said. “I took some instruction from him in instrument flying. Very good pilot. He had every rating known to man. He was just a very, very confident, and smooth … skillful pilot. He’s just going to be missed. I just am very said.”
Lansford is survived by a wife and twin toddlers, according to social media postings.
Lansford was at one point a missionary helicopter pilot working to support Bible translation efforts in Papua New Guinea.
Greene County News Report compiled by Scott Halasz, Whitney Vickers and Nathan Pilling.