Family, friends of well-known, well-respected pilot react to Breckenridge plane crash


BRECKENRIDGE, Texas - News of Tuesday morning's crash has shocked the aviation community.

The pilot, 74-year-old Nelson Ezell, is well-known and very respected in his field.

Ezell is in critical condition at a Fort Worth hospital. The passenger in the two-seat Korean War-era Hawker FB60 Sea Fury escaped unscathed, the Federal Aviation Administration said, but was taken by helicopter to the same hospital. He is listed in stable condition.

"All of us care about them," said Bode Zietz, a longtime friend of Ezell. "I mean the whole community knows them and knows of them and cares deeply."


Zietz was referring to the Ezell family. He's known Ezell for 25 years and also manages the Eastland Municipal Airport.

"First thing is prayers," Zietz said. "The aviation community is very tight, and we look after each other."

Zietz said Ezell is renowned in his field, known for bringing pieces of aviation history back to life and back in the air.

"They take World War II history and make it flyable, and make it airworthy," Zietz said. "They restore the World War II era aircraft to make them air worthy to fly and be flying show pieces of aviation."

Incident not first involving aircraft --}

An employee at Ezell Aviation in Breckenridge said the family was at a hospital in Fort Worth. Meanwhile, back home, longtime friends and members of the tightly-knit aviation community are praying for Ezell to make a speedy recovery.

"[He's] the most down to earth, helpful gentleman you'd ever meet," Zietz said. "He's a great, great person."

KTXS spoke with Ezell's family by phone Tuesday night.

They said he's suffered several broken bones, and he's listed in critical condition.

They said they want to thank everyone for all the support and prayers.

They said Ezell is expected to be in the hospital recovering for quite some time.

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