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Pilot killed in mysterious crash

By: Gabriel Roxas Email
By: Gabriel Roxas Email

An investigation is underway into why a plane went down just shy of a runway in Washington County. The crash happened near the Lebanon-Springfield airport. Only the pilot, 40-year-old Kent Shilling, was on the small plane, and he was killed.

The Piper 28 was on its way back from Alabama when it went down Monday night. The wreckage was found late Tuesday afternoon.

Airport Manager Jim Tucker says Kent Shilling was an experienced flight instructor on his way back from a training.

Investigators aren't sure what caused the crash, but Tucker says he doesn't think weather was a factor. "Kent was a good pilot. He just made a mistake. People don't usually make mistakes, and come out of it, but he did. He didn't this time," Tucker said.

Washington County Judge-Executive John Settles sits on the airport's board of directors. He says the crash came as a shock to those who knew the pilot. "He was so close to the runway and less than ¾ of a mile from the end of the Western end of the runway, and it's not that hilly here, so we're just not sure," Settles said.

Tucker tells 27 NEWSFIRST Shilling not only worked at the airport, he actually lived at his home next to the runway. Now Tucker says the crash has left him shaken knowing it could happen to such a veteran pilot. "We've flown with him a lot," Tucker said, "I fly, and he flies all the time. It's going to make me a better pilot. Cause I'm not going to do the things, and stretch the envelope. I'm not saying he did, but that will get you."

The NTSB will begin its investigation Wednesday to try to determine what brought down this plane.


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