WALL TOWNSHIP - Relatives have identified the pilot who was killed when his small plane crashed in West Caldwell.

Family and friends are remembering John Hannon, 50, who was originally from Oregon, as a well-liked flight instructor. He taught at several schools, including at Monmouth Executive Airport in Wall Township.

"Knew John probably about five years," says Joseph Rubino, a fellow flight instructor at Eagles View Flight School. "I met him through flying. He was a great guy, loved flying."

Hannon's love of flying turned tragic when the Cessna 206 he was piloting lost power and went down in a wooded area near Passaic Avenue in West Caldwell shortly after takeoff from Essex County Airport Saturday morning. He had been headed to Teterboro Airport to pick up a passenger.

According to Rubino, Hannon likely tried to save lives on the ground by directing his troubled aircraft away from nearby homes.

"You got a lot to do in a little amount of time," says Rubino. "I'm sure he did everything he possibly could."

Hannon's friends say they will miss his sense of humor the most. 

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.