PEARLAND, TX (KTRK) --The pilot of a small experimental plane who died after it crashed nose-first at Pearland Regional Airport Wednesday evening was flying on his own for the first time, Eyewitness News has learned.
1 dead in small plane crash near Pearland Regional Airport
The Texas Department of Public Safety identified that pilot as Jared Baxter Ryan, 36, of Houston.
The crash happened just short of CR 127 on airport property.
Ryan's parents say he was passionate about flying from an early age. He had his pilot's license nearly five years and this was his first plane. They tell abc13, he bought it last week, and had already flown it once with a passenger. Ryan's parents say he hadn't complained anything was wrong. Wednesday night was the first time he flew the plane alone.
Ryan's family insists the 36-year-old was concerned about safety. They say he's worked on planes in the past and always triple-checked maintenance repairs.
"Just very particular, just very organized, so I would not see him as a risk taker," said Oni Jackson, who lived next door to Ryan for two years.
Investigators say the sky was clear Wednesday night when people at the airport reported seeing Ryan's plane make an awkward turn, and then nosedive near the runway.
The Federal Aviation Administration is working to figure out what happened.
In the meantime, loved ones are trying to come to terms with losing Ryan.
"He was just a nice, quiet guy. Like, a perfect neighbor," Jackson said.