JASPER, Ala. (AP) - The mother of a teen pilot killed along with two friends in an Alabama plane crash had his own key to the aircraft and had flown it many times, denying authorities' assertion that the plane had been taken without permission.
Sherrie Smith said her 17-year-old son Jordan Smith was the one flying the plane that went down in the Alabama woods Tuesday night. The Federal Aviation Administration said the Piper PA 30 crashed less than a mile from the Walker County Airport in Jasper, which is northwest of Birmingham.
Smith says the owner of the plane had let her son fly it many other times and had given him his own key. Her son was a high school junior who fell in love with flying at an early age and was one test short of earning his private pilot's license.
Her son had left the house around 6 p.m. to meet some friends at another airport in the area, and she said she last spoke to him by cellphone about four hours later. One of her son's friends called later about reports of a plane crash, and she tried to reach Jordan again but couldn't.
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