JONESBORO, AR -- 27-year-old Nate Stallings' was piloting a plane Thursday afternoon from Gulf Shores, Alabama to Jonesboro. Preliminary reports from the FAA say somewhere near border of Alabama and Mississippi the plane had trouble and may have broken up in mid air.
The wreckage of the plane was found near Whitfield, Alabama. Investigators are looking to see if bad weather may have lead to the crash.
Stallings was flying a Piper Saratoga owned by Jonesboro businessman Vick Ditta. He was returning to Jonesboro alone.
Stallings is the grandson of former Jonesboro Mayor Neil Stallings, and his family says was loved by a lot of people.
"His friendliness was contagious. He had a special way of making everyone he met feel like they were his best friend," said Stallings' aunt Kathy Moore.
Moore said her nephew was doing what he loved to do.
"He's a commercial pilot. He also has multi-engine rating and had been flying for three years now. He absolutely loved it. He had found his passion and loved everything about it," said Moore.
Moore said her nephew had about 600 flying hours.
"Nate's a very accomplished pilot. He's very careful, very meticulous," said Moore.
Stallings comes from a long line of pilots. His father and grandfather were also pilots.
"It's in his blood and he found what he loved to do when he started flying," said Moore.
Stallings leaves behind a family.
"He has a five month old son Owen and his wife April. Any time they are in the room his eyes just lit up," said Moore.
Stallings worked for his family's business Neil Stallings properties in addition to his work as a pilot.
"I can't believe this has happened and it just doesn't seem real," said Moore.
But more than anything, Stallings is being remembered for the type of person he was.
"The one thing that I have heard people say is that in his heart he loved his family, he loved his friends, and most of all he loved God," said Moore.