SACRAMENTO, CA - The family of the pilot killed in a crop duster crash is hoping an autopsy will help explain what led to the sudden nosedive over a Sutter County rice field early Monday morning.
Nathaniel "Nate" Brown, 50, died instantly when his Grumman turboprop plunged into the field just west of Highway 70 near East Nicolaus for no apparent reason.
"He was super-conscientous and diligent," said Joe Brizz, Brown's brother-in-law. "He was a very safe and experienced pilot."
Brown had worked for Farm Air Flying Service for about 20 years, a company that had never experienced a fatal accident before.
"It's very difficult for us," said co-worker Rebecca Salaices. "(Nate) had been part of our family for a very long time."
Brizz said Brown worked as a roofer when he moved to California from Wisconsin in the 1980's, but his passion for aviation led him to get his pilot's license.
Brown and his wife, Georgette, had just celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary and have two sons, Jack, 7, and Weston, 6.
"Nate was loved by his family and friends and respected by his colleagues," Brizz said. "He was a great guy."
by George Warren, GWarren@news10.net