The pilot who died in a fiery New Jersey crash that damaged three homes was a New York City doctor for years — and he reportedly had some experience in emergency landings before.
Dr. Michael Schloss took off from an airport in Virginia Tuesday morning and was set to land at Linden Airport, a route he had flown many times before. The well-regarded cardiologist was flying back north to head into the city for a lecture, something he did frequently to attend similar events.
However more questions than answers remain about what happened to Schloss and the aircraft in the moments before the plane fell from the sky and into a Woodbridge Township house.
The Linden Airport Director said to NBC New York that Scholl was a regular at the small airfield, and that something must’ve gone wrong for this to have happened to the experienced pilot.
“We used to see Dr.Schloss every week and he was a fixture here, always had a smile on his face and lend a hand when he could,” said Paul Dudley. “For a highly skilled aviator, in a good high-quality aircraft to come to grief like this, something happened to overwhelm him.”
Schloss, who was the only person who died when his twin engine Cessna 414 crashed, often volunteered in shows and was helpful to other pilots — especially those with heart conditions, Dudley said, adding the doctor would help them with maintaining their licenses.
According to the Star-Ledger, Schloss made an emergency landing at Linden Airport in 2008, using the very same aircraft he was flying on Tuesday. In that instance, Schloss never lowered his landing gear amid strong winds.
He was also vocal in the pilot community, speaking with the NBC station in Orlando, Florida, in 2016 about dangers some pilots had been facing in that area due to trees.
Investigators from the National Safety Transportation Board were combing over the scene to get a better idea of what may have happened to the seasoned pilot, and the investigation is ongoing.