It was his passion--flying.
Russel Stroup was 26 years old. He was doing just that--flying--in his final moments.
Russel's mother tells us this dream started back in the second grade, when he wrote a poem for class called, "When I was Flying High."
She shares pictures of her son with us. One of them was of the first time he flew solo at Purdue University, where Russel studied aviation.
"Oh, he hated school," says Russel's friend Nick Yoder, who is also a pilot. "He hated being in the classroom. He didn't like to be in the building. He liked to be outside in the air."
"Russel was a wonderful young man whose heart was into flying. It's one thing he wanted to do," shares Denise Eby, owner of Agriflite. That's the company Stroup flew for.
"He was a hard worker, very happy, very kind. I could only say very good things about him."
"I never had anybody who could even compared to keeping up with him," says Dennis Spreuer, and friend and also a pilot.
Stroup was flying a crop duster plane when it crashed near Dragoon Trail east of Elm Road in Mishawaka.
The plane went down about a half a mile back in a corn field, so emergency workers had the challenge of just getting there.
"We had to go through quite a bit of cornfield and cut quite a bit of trees to get to it. But then they found the plane and found the victim that was in the plane," explains Dale Wallick from Penn Township Fire Department.
Hours later, a tow truck emerged from the woods, carrying on it the pieces of the plane.
The who, what, where, and when have all been answered.
Now, investigators are looking for the why.