Friends leading effort to support family of pilot killed in crash

Joel Lansford, 33, of Fairborn died last week when his airplane crashed at the Greene County Airport.

Friends of a Fairborn pilot who died in a plane crash last week are organizing community to help care for his wife and two children.

Joel Lansford, 33, of Fairborn, served in the Ohio Army National Guard. Scott Collins, who severed with him in Afghanistan, said Collins enjoyed helping others. Lansford would play piano in their chapel services. Collins said he was in disbelief when he learned his friend was in a plane crash.

“I remember waking up at six o’clock in the morning and sharing the report on Facebook,” Collins said. “I knew it was his part of town but I didn’t want to believe it.”

Lansford was the only occupant in the Cirrus SR-22 when it crashed into a hillside at Greene County-Lewis A. Jackson Regional Airport on Jan. 26. Collins said he was devastated when he learned his friend died, but he is happy he was able to do what he loved.

“He was always studying how to either fly them or fix them,” Collins said. “When he came home he was doing both of those things.”

Caleb Weller, who worked on service projects with Lansford focused on agriculture in Israel, created a fundraiser online to help support Lansford’s wife and two children.

“I don’t want to see his family have any concerns this year,” Weller said. “So I wanted people to rally around her as a community and help her out.”

The page had reached $6,573 of its $36,000 goal as of Wednesday. Donations are being accepted until the end of February. To donate visit

National Transportation Safety Board officials said Wednesday that a preliminary report on the crash could be released this week.