The pilot in Tuesday morning's helicopter crash was a longtime Boeing employee.

Gary Pfitzner worked at the development center in Tukwila, and in his spare time, he flew helicopters and gave flying lessons.

He was just a helluva good guy. A helluva nice guy, said Don Anderson, Pfitzner s friend.

Having a conversation he could have never imagined before today, Anderson tried to find the words.

You always think you're strong, but somehow or another it doesn't work, he said.

For more than 20 years Anderson worked with Pfitzner at Boeing - Anderson an engineer, Pfitzner a technician.

If you wanna get something done, you go to a tech. You don't go to an engineer or you won't get anything done there, said Anderson.

They traveled the world together for work to Spain, Germany and France. They always found time to explore during their trips.

Gary was just great to be with. He was happy, he wanted to do stuff, said Anderson.

Most of all he says Pfitzner loved to fly, and he was good at it.

Taking classes about what might happen if you're going to have an incident in a helicopter, said Anderson.

It s why Anderson couldn't believe it Tuesday morning when the emails and phone calls came flooding in. Pfitzner s helicopter had crashed. He called Pfitzner s wife.

She said, yes the rumor's true. I don't know what to do, recalled Anderson.

While the circumstances of what happened are being sorted out, Anderson says one thing is clear.

If he was checking anything and thought there was a problem, I don't think he would even fly it, said Anderson.

Gary Pfitzner: a skilled pilot, a Boeing technician and, most importantly to Anderson, a friend.

It was just fun to be with him, to be at his place, and do things with him, but we don't have that opportunity anymore, said Anderson. It's gone.

Pfitzner s family released a statement, saying Pfitzner was going to retire from Boeing soon but planned to keep flying.

KING5's Rob Piercy and Liza Javier contributed to this report.

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