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Wife witnessed deadly ultralight crash on pilot's first flight

Robert Dyer’s wife witnessed his plane dive into a nearby golf course shortly after taking off from Craig Air Center.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Eager to fly his ultralight aircraft for the first time, Robert Dyer and his wife Minerva Dyer were at Craig Air Center early Sunday morning.

Minerva Dyer told First Coast News that she never imagined it would also be his last time.

Robert Dyer liked to garden and fish, but being in the air was his passion.

Minerva Dyer says he used to be a skydiving instructor and had flown ultralight planes before.

Robert had always wanted his own set of wings.

“It was a dream of his since he was a teenager," Minerva Dyer explained. "And, I said, 'well your dream is gonna come true, because I’m going to buy you one.' And I did, and we had somebody build it for us. It took almost a year,"

She says he was more than ready to hop in the cockpit – for a flight that quickly turned deadly.

According to the incident report, multiple witnesses told the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office the aircraft’s engine started sputtering shortly after Robert began his flight.

Minerva Dyer watched as his ultralight then crashed into a ditch at the Blue Sky Golf Course around 6:20 a.m.

“But before he flew that airplane, we said goodbye to each other. I gave him a kiss. And I told him, 'I love him,'" Minerva Dyer said. "And his last word was, he doesn't think he was gonna make it back. And it's like he had he knew that it was his time."

After being married for 29 years, it hasn’t quite hit her that Robert Dyer is gone. Minerva Dyer says it’s only getting harder as the days go by.

“He was my very best friend. He was a good husband and a good father. And I'm gonna miss him," she said.

Dyer says they’ll be having a ceremony for Robert at the Craig Air Center Saturday morning beginning at 11 a.m.

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