By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – In the Shelton home, the man they lost in Wednesday’s fatal plane crash was known as “Double D.”
Attorneys Jimmy Doug Shelton and his son, Jason Shelton, were still in disbelief on Thursday, a day after 69-year-old David Duncan of Tupelo was killed in the Cessna 310 aircraft he was piloting. They’d just seen Duncan the day before at a funeral home, paying his respects to the family after the death of Jason’s uncle.
The elder Shelton had talked to his friend of more than 50 years just before bed Tuesday night, not knowing it would be their last conversation.
“This hit our family hard,” said Jimmy Doug Shelton, who said Duncan had taught him how to fly. “It just shocked us because he is a great pilot, the best. So I know it’s not pilot error that caused this. He has flown Jason all over the country without a problem. David was one of my oldest and closet friends, so this is just a difficult time for our family.”
Duncan’s plane crashed into a pine tree shortly after taking off from the Tupelo Regional Airport on Wednesday morning. The crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board and it could take up to 18 months before a cause is determined.
Jason Shelton started flying with Double D when he was a boy. Duncan was his pilot of choice since the first time he climbed in the plane with him.
“He loved to fly and we loved to fly with him,” he said. “There was never a time when he was needed that he said he was too busy to come and help us, and that’s not just talking about flying. He’d help you move or anything else you needed done. He was just a selfless person. Like I said, he was an excellent pilot.”
Allen Sudduth was a fellow pilot and friend of Duncan’s. Both men graduated from Tupelo High School in 1960 and were friends all their lives. When he’d heard someone had died in a plane crash, Sudduth said he called Duncan to see who it was, but after seven calls went unanswered, he had a feeling he knew.
“He was just a great friend and a great pilot,” Sudduth said. “And I had flown that plane six months ago and it was a good plane. It’s just tragic. David was a great man; we lost a great man.”
An autopsy report has been ordered for Duncan, according to Lee County Coroner Carolyn Gillentine-Green. The results are expected within a couple of days, she said.