Pilot killed in Mandan crash was Stanton area farmer

MANDAN, N.D. (AP) — Police on Thursday identified the pilot who died in the crash of a small, home-built aircraft at Mandan Municipal Airport last weekend.

The victim was Stanton area farmer Joel Pfliger, 57, a former gas plant worker. Pfliger died Saturday afternoon when his single-engine plane crashed and burned shortly after takeoff. He was the only one on board.

According to an obituary published by his family, Pfliger was a full-time farmer and a mechanical engineer who worked at Dakota Gasification Co. north of Beulah for 24 years until retiring in 2012.

Pfliger was a University of North Dakota graduate who got his pilot’s license shortly after he started working at the gas plant and “flew constantly,” according to his family.

The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation into the crash. The Bismarck Tribune reports the agency has not yet issued a preliminary report.