(WMC-TV) - Rick Vaughn was an experienced pilot with a well taken care of plane. His friends are still in shock that the man they considered an excellent pilot died doing what he loved.
Vaughn's plane crashed in Fayette County, Wednesday.
"The plane was in so many pieces," said Kathy Holcomp, Vaughn's neighbor. "I had asked my husband where is the bulk of the plane and he said this is it."
This is a nightmare for his friend David Casey who was also his flying buddy. They've been on many trips together. Enough for David to know how careful his friend was in the air.
"He was an excellent pilot," Casey said. "He was a meticulous pilot. He checked out everything from pre-flight, status to weather."
Vaughn was on his way to Florida where he was meeting his fiancé and her daughter for a vacation. When he never made it, his friends were worried. When they heard about the crash they knew.
Kathy Holcomp is Vaughn's neighbor in Arlington and says he was always there when she needed him.
"I had a horse die on me a couple of years ago and he was more than willing to come with machine and bury the horse for me, matter of fact it was probably nine or 10 at night," Holcomp said.
His flying buddy is trying to figure out why this happened. He doubts mechanical problems.
"That was a top notch, well taken care of plane," Casey said. "It was always inspected annually."
Vaughn owned a commercial sweeping and landscaping service. We're told he also was a talented musician playing organ, drums and guitar and, of course, he loved to fly.
"I just love him like a brother," Casey said. "He was just that kind of person."
The wreckage has been collected and sent off for analysis. The cause of the crash will not be known until the National Transportation Safety Board's report is released in at least 2 to 3 months.