john_culbertsonAn Emory School of Medicine plastic surgeon, associate professor and alum has been identified as the pilot killed in a single-engine plane crash Monday in Dawson County, media outlets reported Wednesday afternoon.

The plane was carrying John Culbertson (’78M), 62, when it crashed in a field by Ga. 400 near Auraria Road, the AJC reported.

Culbertson, who owned the plane, served as an associate professor of surgery at Emory’s School of Medicine as well as chief of the Department of Plastic Surgery at both Emory University Hospital Midtown and Grady Memorial Hospital, according to his biography on the School of Medicine website. He had been a faculty member at Emory since 1986, having also graduated from the School of Medicine in 1978 and undergoing his residency in plastic surgery at Emory from 1982 to 1984.

He was flying a Piper PA-46, a single-engine plane, according to WSB-TV. He lost communication with air traffic controllers at around 7 p.m. Monday as he headed toward DeKalb-Peachtree Airport from Morristown, N.J., the AJC reported.

According to the AJC, the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash. The AJC also reported that Culbertson was flying the same plane, carrying four other passengers, in 2000 when he crash landed in an Arkansas field.

The University released the following statement Wednesday:

John “Jack” Culbertson, MD, passed away Monday evening when the airplane he was piloting went down in North Georgia. On behalf of all of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center faculty and staff, our deepest sympathies go out to Dr. Culbertson’s family. We do not know the circumstances surrounding the crash and NTSB is investigating. Dr. Culbertson served as Associate Professor within the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery for more than twenty-five years. He was a member of multiple national societies and served as Chief of Plastic Surgery at Emory University Hospital Midtown. Dr. Culbertson also directed plastic and reconstructive surgery services based at Grady Memorial Hospital and mentored plastic surgery residents there. Dr. Culbertson contributed to numerous publications and textbooks and lectured nationally and internationally. In addition, he travelled to Navajo reservations for many years to provide instruction and perform surgery.

A full version of this story will appear in Friday’s issue.

– By Jordan Friedman

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