|Updated: 11/12/2013 12:17 am
||Published: 11/11/2013 11:57 pm
FOX23 has learned Sen. Jim Inhofe and his son have flown countless times out of Jones Riverside Airport south of Tulsa.
We talked with people there who know the Inhofes well.
The clouds overhead are a reflection of the aviation community's feelings.
"It's a tragedy, and we all feel it. There's a loss, and it kind of leaves a hole," Jerry Buchanan, a longtime family friend told FOX23.
Many people at Jones Riverside knew who was piloting the plane long before anyone else. Still it hasn't yet started to sink in.
"He was one of the most proficient pilots I have ever known," Buchanan said.
David Koehn agrees that Perry Inhofe was known as a good pilot. Koehn flew with Inhofe many times.
"He was very studious and always extremely well-prepared," Koehn said.
That's the reason everyone at Jones Riverside is scratching their heads as to what happened.
"We know only that there was an engine lost because there were witnesses that saw an engine not working on it," Buchanan said.
FOX23 learned Inhofe was a surgeon in Tulsa at Central States Orthopedics, and while Koehn says there is a stereotype in aviation about doctors being too arrogant to be taught how to fly, he says it wasn't true of Inhofe.
"He was always wanting to be better," Koehn told FOX23.
Koehn remembers Inhofe as a good friend.
"He was always concerned about me and my family. When we met instead of just talking about flying all the time he'd ask me how my baby was doing or how my wife was doing," Koehn said.
It was just a couple of weeks ago that Inhofe gave Koehn a very simple gift. It was earpieces for his piloting headset.
"It was just the kind of guy he was, thinking of other people. He was a good guy with a big heart."
Koehn appreciated the gift two weeks ago, but now it's become a priceless possession.
Planes were still flying in and out of Jones Riverside as usual Monday, but everyone said the dynamic was very different.
It was a very sad day not only for people at Jones Riverside, but for the aviation community as a whole.