July 18, 2006--Posted at 4:40 p.m. CDT
LAWRENCE COUNTY, AR--Officials from Lawrence County as well as federal and state investigators are hard at work trying to figure out what went wrong when a plane crashed Monday evening killing Robert Blakeney and Kyle Heard.
"When they arrived on the scene they found a Piper Cub aircraft had crashed off of Highway 91 in a field," said Lt. Jody Dotson of the Lawrence County Sheriff Department.
The Federal Aviation Administration investigated the scene Tuesday morning and credited the crash to unknown circumstances. However, those close to the situation have their own suspicions as to what caused the crash.
"I don't think the engine quit, but I don't know. I suspect they were going too slow," said Blakeney's grandfather Robert Hicks.
Experience wasn't the problem. Blakeney would have turned 28 next week and was working on his private pilot's license. Heard had his private pilot's license and was working on his commercial license.
"He loved to fly. He probably flew about 30 minutes each day and had his own strip behind the farm," said the Kyle's brother Shane Heard.
Kyle Heard had accumulated over 200 hours of flying time and was considered a good pilot. To those who knew him, he was even a better person.
"He would do anything for you. If he wasn't my brother, he would still be my friend," said Shane Heard.
Blakeney worked for his grandfather at Hoxie Flying Service and was no stranger to agricultural aviation.
"Family, farming and flying. We are really a close-knit family," said Hicks.
Family and friends stopped by to see the crash scene for themselves saying their final good-byes to the two men who lost their lives doing what they loved.
"I wish you could tell me how to handle this, but I know you can't. The guy up there is helping us," said Hicks.