Saturday evening, experienced pilot Eddie Hoglan, 79 took adventurous 13-year-old Taylor Brown out for a ride in his glider in Littlefield when they were killed in a horrific crash. Witnesses say the glider's right wing snapped off and the glider spiraled out of control to the ground, crashing at Littlefield Airport.
Monday, as children came back to school, everyone tried to resume life as usual but the sense of shock remained.
"They're all kind of grieving in a different way and many of them are just needing to talk about it," said Littlefield Junior High Principal Trevor Edgemon of Brown's classmates. "Many of them are asking why and we have several counselors up here and many pastors from the community."
Edgemon described Taylor Brown as an excellent student who didn't spend much time in his office and said everyone at the school knew him. Edgemon's daughter told her father that red was Brown's favorite color and insisted he wear red to school in honor of Brown's memory.
"He was just a normal junior high kid living life. He loved football, was big into track and rode motorcycles a lot," said Edgemon.
Head football coach and Athletic Director Bryan Huseman experienced Brown's work ethic firsthand and describes as being a pleasure to coach.
"He caught my attention because I like the way he worked. I liked his attitude. It was always 'Yes sir, no sir,' and if you asked him to do something he did it. He's just a quality kid and was going to be a good athlete for us no doubt," Huseman said. "He was going to be a success in life because he worked so hard and he had a good attitude no matter what he was doing."
But it was Brown's enthusiasm for flying that brought him in contact with Hoglan and so many other pilots across the South Plains. "Taylor has been flying since he was born with his father and grandfather," flight instructor Michael Graves said.
Brown was only 11 years old the first time Graves took him up in a plane and, according to Graves, he was a natural. "Taylor had a rare ability to intuitively know what to do in an aircraft. He and Eddie (Hoglan) were a lot alike," Graves said.
Eddie Hoglan was a native of Plainview and began had been flying when he was just 17. Graves was not only was he a family friend of the Browns but described Hoglan as his dearest friend. He said Hoglan was "truly an example of how to be thoughtful and kind to everyone he came across. He was the most remarkable man I've ever known," he said.
After 62 years in the air, Graves says the skies just won't be the same with Hoglan's passing.
The National Transportation Safety Board says it may take 6 to 9 months before an official report of the crash is released.
Since Saturday, KCBD received information about a 2004 crash in England involving the same type of K7 glider with the wing also snapping off, causing its demise. This fatal crash caused the British Gliders Association to require mandatory recurring inspections on this specific glider model. There is no such safety measure for these gliders in the U.S.
NTSB says they will be looking into the history of this model during their investigation.
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