Family members say he died doing what he loved best...flying.
Bob Mollring was an avid flyer. At a young age he joined the California Air National Guard. His family says flying was a passion he never gave up and it was only fitting that he died Friday afternoon in the skies over the Central Valley.
Mollring's daughter tells action news her father was at home in the sky.
On the ground, FAA investigators spent much of Saturday morning sorting through the wreckage from the crash.
Jose Salazar, Federal Aviation Administration: "That's the whole thing right now is to try to get all the debris and all the types of parts to find out if we can put all this together like a puzzle and find out what went first."
Aviation safety inspector Jose Salazar says a preliminary investigation shows the plane, a single engine Beech Bonanza, broke up in mid-air. But Salazar says it's too early to determine what could have caused the break-up.
Jose Salazar: "It depends. Again there's different circumstances that would cause that. I couldn't even go into detail on those."
Those are details Mollring's daughter says she wants to know. Investigators say the autopsy report will determine if the 78-year old's health was a factor. Meanwhile, nailing down the cause of the crash could take up to a year.
Jose Salazar: "Previous investigations that I have been involved with have taken months and sometimes years to try to figure out what has happened."
But in the meantime, Mollring's daughter says she's grateful her children had a chance to spend time with their grandfather at Disneyland earlier this year.
She says her father always had a smile on his face.
Mollring was only in the air for 6 minutes before Chandler Airport lost radio contact with him and he crashed.
The coroner says the autopsy results should be available Sunday.