Friends and family are mourning the loss of an experienced pilot that was killed in a helicopter crash in Ellis County on Wednesday.
Jason Grogan was one of the pilots on board Bell’s 525 Relentless Helicopter that burst into flames during a test flight.
The helicopter is Bell's new high speed civilian passenger helicopter that's still in development. The company has not released the identities of the two pilots killed, but family members say Grogan, a senior test pilot, was one of the victims.
Lynn Grogan says in the 24 years she knew her husband, flying helicopters was his passion.
"He'd been through two other crashes with literally cuts and bruises,” she said.
It is the reason Lynn has a lot of questions about the cause of this crash.
“I know that it was something catastrophic, I mean something literally beyond his control,” she said. “There's no other explanation for it. He was that good. If it was something that he could have done about it, he would."
After 13 years active service in the Marines, two combat tours in Iraq and a top level position as a senior pilot for Bell, Lynn says her husband's proudest accomplishment was being a father to his daughter, Katelyn, and his son, Aaron. And as they grow up learning about the legacy their father leaves behind, getting through the first few days may be the hardest part.
“He said they were the best thing he ever did,” Lynn said.
Grogan's neighbors in Burleson remembered him as a man with a smile always on his face.
“One of the nicest people you'll ever meet,” said friend Skip Quant. “One of those people you love to be around. Always positive. Always upbeat."
The job of a test pilot may have a high level of intensity, but friends say Grogan always had a smile on his face and was devoted to his wife and three children.
Brad Thompson is a Fort Worth police officer who was Grogan’s close friend.
“He was always a guy quick to talk about his life, about your life,” Thompson said. “They've been there for me during some traumatic times in my life and I intend to be there for them."
Bell's prototype can carry up to 20 passengers. The crash site and every part of the investigation is still in the hands of federal accident investigators.
“He was a good father. He was a good husband and a great pilot,” Thompson said. “Something catastrophic had to have happened for him not to put that bird down safely. He was that good."