Pilot killed in Union County crash was experienced Air Force pilot

Local News

We are learning more information about what might have caused the plane to go down in Union County.

A track log on Flight Aware, for the plane Arizona pilot, Matthew Hayden was flying from Dayton, showed a drastic dip in altitude and speed before he was able to reach his final destination in Delaware.  

It’s something that commercial pilot, Robert Katz said stuck out to him.  

“The very rapid rate of descent at the very end of the flight suggesting to me an inflight break up,” Katz said.

The Union County sheriff said it was snowing when the crash happened along U.S. 42 in Plain City.  

“Again, what I saw on Flight Aware was the airplane emerging from what looked like a line of snow showers,” Katz said.

The sheriff said Hayden was on his way to visit a friend and the 44-year old had his military identification on him.  

Media relations with the U.S. Air Force said Hayden retired as a lieutenant colonel back in August and was one of the most experienced F-35 pilots in the world.  

Even though he was an experienced pilot, Katz said the planes are different.  

“It’s fair to say that military combat aircraft experience does not equate to civilian pistol twin-engine airplanes,” Katz said.  

The registration for the plane showed that the Cessna 421B belongs to Classic Solutions Company out in California and is 44 years old.  

Katz said this could make the plane vulnerable to corrosion.  

“That could reflect in the mechanical worthiness of the airplane. An airplane that old is going to require a lot of TLC, tender loving care,” Katz said.  

Throughout the next 12 to 18 months NTSB will be looking over the plane’s inspection reports and the pilots record. As well as trying to piece together the plane to figure out what caused it to go down.  

“It becomes a big jigsaw puzzle that they attempt to put back together to try to identify where the failures occurred,” Katz said.  

The sheriff said that Hayden leaves behind a wife and two daughters.  

NBC4’s Danielle Avitable reached out to the company who owns the plane at least three times, but haven’t heard back.

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