US Senator’s son remembered as dedicated pilot

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The son of U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe who was killed in a plane crash was being remembered Tuesday as a compassionate surgeon who loved to fly.

The state medical examiner’s office confirmed that Perry Dyson Inhofe II, 52, died Sunday when the plane he was flying crashed in Owasso, about five miles north of Tulsa International Airport, and then caught fire. He was identified using dental records, said medical examiner’s spokeswoman Amy Elliot. The cause and manner of death, along with an autopsy report, have not been released.

Authorities are trying to determine the cause of the crash. Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board removed the engines and propellers from the crash site on Tuesday and will examine both, said Aaron Sauer, NTSB’s lead investigator on the crash. Communications between the pilot and air traffic controllers also are being reviewed, but Sauer declined to discuss the nature of those communications.

Investigators also are reviewing Perry Inhofe’s pilot training and flight experience and whether he was properly licensed to fly the plane, Sauer said. They also plan to interview several witnesses who saw the plane shortly before it crashed. A preliminary report on the crash should be released next week, Sauer said.

One of four children of Oklahoma’s senior U.S. senator, Perry Inhofe was a hand surgeon at Central States Orthopedics in Tulsa.

“Dr. Inhofe was known by his patients as an extremely caring and compassionate physician who always put the needs of his patients first,” said David Long, the clinic’s administrator.

Perry Inhofe also was known as a dedicated pilot who had logged more than 3,000 hours of flight time, Long said.

“He died doing what he loved,” Long said. “He was a pilot in command and had been flying since he was a teenager.”

Perry Inhofe was certified both as a commercial pilot for multiple types of aircraft and as a flight instructor, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

The plane he was flying Sunday was a 1974 Mitsubishi MU-25-25, a fixed-wing, multi-engine aircraft, according to FAA records. Records also show the aircraft was recently purchased by Anasazi Winds LLC, which lists Perry Inhofe as its registered agent.

Pilots who fly the MU-2 model are required to undergo comprehensive standardized training designed specifically for the aircraft, but FAA records don’t indicate whether Inhofe completed that training.

Inhofe is survived by his wife, Nancy, and two sons, Glade and Cole. A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at First Presbyterian Church in Tulsa.

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Sean Murphy can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy

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