Bemidji Aviation President Killed in Plane Crash

Updated: 12/05/2012 6:55 AM KSTP.com By: Jennie Olson

A Minnesota businessman and pilot died when his plane crashed Tuesday in Illinois.

Larry Diffley, president of Bemidji Aviation Services, Inc. was the only person aboard the twin engine Beech Baron at the time of the crash, says Bemidji Aviation Vice President Mark Shough.

The crash happened around 2:45 p.m. near Manhattan, Ill., which is about 50 miles south of Chicago.

Mark Shough says 74-year-old Larry Diffley was flying solo in a twin-engine Beech Baron and was inspecting an oil pipeline near Chicago when the plane went down shortly before 3 p.m. Tuesday.
    
Shough says Diffley was in radio contact during the flight with the oil company that contracted with him to inspect the pipeline. Shough is vice president of Bemidji Aviation.
    
Shough tells the Bemidji Pioneer he and Diffley bought the aviation company in 1970 after the two met in the National Guard. Shough remembers Diffley as a "superb pilot" who was fair, generous and conscientious.

In a statement Tuesday evening, the company said "Bemidji Aviation Services employees would like to express their deepest sympathy to the Diffley family. This is a profound loss for their family, our company, and the Bemidji community."

Bemidji Aviation Services is cooperating with the NTSB in its investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.