MARYSVILLE, OH — Authorities have identified an Arizona pilot who was killed when the small plane he was flying crashed into a farm field in Ohio.
The Union County Sheriff's Office said Monday that 44-year-old Matthew Hayden, of Phoenix, died Sunday night when the Cessna 421B multi-engine plane crashed off Route 42 near the border of Union and Delaware counties.
According to Luke Air Force Base, Hayden was a retired Lieutenant Colonel with the 56th Training Squadron.
Hayden's bio stated he was one of the most experienced F-35 pilots in the world, and has flown and instructed new pilots at Luke AFB since the inception of its program.
Hayden also made history as the first Luke AFB pilot to reach 500 flying hours in an F-35 Lightning II.
Union County Sheriff Jamie Patton says the former Air Force pilot took off from Dayton International Airport on Sunday evening and was headed to Delaware Municipal Airport in central Ohio when the plane crashed shortly before 6 p.m.
Patton says the plane was owned by Classic Solutions Company Inc., out of Bakersfield, California.
An investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board says it's too early to determine what caused the crash.
A memorial fund has been set up to help the family. You can donate here.