Albuquerque resident Renard “Renny” Rozzoni had a passion for flying – the 65-year-old could often be found soaring above the desert landscape east of Albuquerque.
“I think he really enjoyed the challenge – finding the lift and going the distance,” his daughter Jennifer Rozzoni told the Journal on Wednesday.
Tragedy struck Tuesday afternoon when Rozzoni died after his glider crashed in Torrance County, just a few miles east of Moriarty Airport.
New Mexico State Police Lt. Elizabeth Armijo said authorities did not know what led to the crash and the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.
The FAA could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Rozzoni said her father had flown gliders for more than 40 years and, since retiring from Exxon Mobil, would fly out of Moriarty Airport at least twice a week, if not more.
So when he left home Tuesday morning, it was business as usual.
“He dropped my brother off at work and went out to the field like he normally would do,” Rozzoni said.
She said his newest glider, a 2017 Ventus 3F bought about six months ago, had technology on board that allowed his wife, Joan, to track him by GPS.
“Once you land, it stops tracking,” Rozzoni said, which happened around 3 p.m. Tuesday.
When his wife hadn’t heard from him by 5 p.m., she got worried and called authorities who started searching the area around the airport.
They found the crashed glider on private land near Stage Coach Lane. Rozzoni was pronounced dead at the scene.
Through tears, Jennifer Rozzoni called her father a “smart, gregarious and outgoing” man who loved spaghetti Westerns.
“People really gravitated towards him,” she said. “We loved him very much.