The pilot of a small airplane that crashed into the ocean off Virginia’s Eastern Shore on Saturday had decades of experience and was in good health, according to a family member.
The airplane was registered to Ronald Hutchinson of Brookfield, Wisconsin, The Associated Press said.
Hutchinson’s son told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel his father’s flight from Waukesha, Wisconsin, to Manassas, Virginia, was a personal trip.
He was the only person on board.
Hutchinson had been flying for 40 years, his son, Patrick Hutchinson said.
“I was to applaud the efforts of the Coast Guard. All the federal agencies involved kept us informed of every step of this,” Patrick Hutchinson said.
Hutchins, 67, was a retired executive senior vice president at Harley-Davidson, according to a profile on dnaglobalnetwork.com.
He worked for Harley-Davidson more than 30 years before retiring and had since worked as a consultant. He was also the current board chairman for Wiscraft Inc. a private, nonprofit manufacturing company that offers employment to visually impaired people.
Hutchinson’s aircraft crashed Saturday after it missed its scheduled landing at Manassas Regional Airport and went into restricted airspace near Washington, D.C.
Personnel on two F-16 fighter jets came alongside to investigate and saw the pilot unconscious in the cockpit, according to the Coast Guard.
The F-16s escorted the single-engine Cirrus until it ran out of fuel and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean about 51 miles southeast of Chincoteague.
The Coast Guard suspended its search for the pilot Sunday morning after searching through the night.
A fisherman in the area found a wheel and an engine cowling thought to belong to the airplane and turned them over to the Coast Guard.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.