Forsyth County

Man killed in plane crash remembered as 'excellent pilot'

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Friends and co-workers are remembering a flight instructor who was killed when his plane crashed over the weekend.

Channel 2's Lori Wilson spoke with a neighbor who said he spent hours with the pilot the night before.

Those who knew him best said Ernesto Arteaga-Membreno, 28, of Grayson, was a good pilot and a good neighbor. He was a flight instructor at flight school in Gwinnett County.

“We had a reveal party and that was really the first time we interacted, and he was just a really nice guy,” neighbor Erik Siders told Wilson.

He said Arteaga-Membreno had just bought the house next to him a couple of months ago.

Siders invited him to a party Saturday and got to know more about the young pilot, instructor and airplane mechanic.


“Actually, my aunt, she works for Delta, and my wife's dad, he also did stuff with planes, so they all had really good conversations,” Siders said. 

Siders said he was glad he was able to spend a couple of hours with his neighbor, not knowing they would be his final moments.

“He actually stayed for a long time, until he had to go to work,” Siders said.

At the flight school in Gwinnett County where Arteaga-Membreno worked part-time, operations director Gary Stone told Wilson he hired Arteaga-Membreno because he was good.

“The chief flight instructor goes and flies with you and he came back and goes, ‘He's an excellent pilot.’ So that sold me,” Stone said. 

He was an excellent pilot who would take his last flight Saturday evening. 

“We consider ourselves a family, and we've lost one of the members of our family. That's kind of tough,” Stone said. 

Two passengers, Litsu Chen and Shen Yang Wu, were both injured in the crash. 

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.

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