Aviation professor recalls former student killed in metro plane crash: ‘You couldn’t help but like this guy’
[anvplayer video=”4963641″ station=”998122″]
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office identified 24-year-old Lucas Knight, of North Mankato, as one of three victims who died in Sunday’s small plane crash in Cottage Grove on Grey Cloud Island.
Knight graduated from Minnsota State University, Mankato’s aviation program back in 2019, according to faculty, and records show he obtained his commercial pilot’s license that same year.
"He was just a well-liked guy, you couldn’t help but like the guy, so we’re going to miss him," said Tom Peterson, an associate professor.
Investigators said Knight was onboard a Cessna 1721 aircraft that crashed into a 200-foot gravel pit lake in Cottage Grove on Sunday. It’s still unclear who was flying at the time of the crash.
“It was a real shock — it was a surprise that Lucas would have been involved in this because he’s a good pilot,” Peterson said.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS learned the plane was on a discovery flight, which is something you might buy for a birthday or anniversary gift where passengers can experience what it’s like to fly.
The downed aircraft is registered to Air Trek North, a flight training school at Fleming Field in South St. Paul. Multiple messages were left by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS during the week but nobody responded.
The Ramsey County Medical Examiner also identified 60-year-old Larry Schlichting, of Eagan, as another victim of the crash.
The father of two children also loved motorcycles and playing music, according to his social media.
A third person was found by search crews overnight Thursday, according to investigators, but that person’s identity has not been released as of Friday afternoon.
Partial wreckage from the aircraft has been recovered, according the sheriff’s office.
Federal investigators continue to look into what brought down the plane down.