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Flight center honors late instructor at ceremony
Kelly Chandler died from injuries after an Oct. 16 plane crash
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Pilots fly their planes in a missing man formation in honor of Kelly Chandler during an open house at the Lanier Flight Center on Saturday, April 18, 2015. Chandler died in October in a plane crash, and his widow, Jackie Chandler, announced a flight training scholarship in his name on Saturday. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Family and co-workers of the Lanier Flight Center instructor who died after an October plane crash honored the passionate aviator Saturday in the most fitting way: teaching people to fly.

Kelly Chandler, 50, died following an Oct. 16 crash at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport when riding as a passenger with Lawrence Youhanaian, 74.

The plane made contact with power line poles that caused the aircraft to roll. Youhanaian died at the scene, while Chandler was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta with serious injuries.
Chandler died Nov. 10.

“We’re slowly coming back,” said Lanier Flight Center president Troy Wheeler. “There’s parts of Kelly that he’s left behind that I see every day that I cherish every day. As we move forward, his memories will never be forgotten.”

On Saturday, Kelly Chandler’s widow Jackie announced the Kelly Chandler Wings Scholarship to help pay for those looking to learn how to fly.

Jackie Chandler stood at the podium surrounded by family members and Flair Lee, the man who pulled Kelly Chandler from the aircraft engulfed in flames.

“Although Kelly did not make it, you gave us time, hope, to love on him until the good Lord took him,” Jackie Chandler said.

The family presented a plaque honoring Lee, a Red Oak Sanitation mechanic who jumped into action.

“I would do it for anyone,” he said, adding that he wished he could have had the chance to spend time with the man he saved.

The Lanier Flight Center employees have stood behind Jackie Chandler since her husband’s death, said Lanier Flight Center Director of Operations Heidi Earle.

“I know that I have a family here. I just wish I had known it sooner,” Jackie Chandler said.

The scholarship fund is accepting donations through the end of August, hoping to provide money for potentially two pilots. Donations can be made to Lanier Flight Center.

“As Kelly would say, ‘How awesome and cool would that be?’” Jackie Chandler asked.

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