Connerton also described a harrowing flight two years ago from Toledo, Ohio, to an international flight expo in Lakeland, Fla. Connerton said ice had built up on the plane to the point that he could no longer get it to climb.
"If it wasn't for Jamie's navigation and know-how ... we wouldn't have made it," Connerton said.
Killed along with Brokaw in the Afghanistan crash were Gary Stockdale, 51, of Romulus, Mich.; pilots Brad Hasler, 34, of Trenton, Mich., and Jeremy Lipka, 37, of Brooklyn, Mich.; first officer Rinku Summan, 32, of Canton, Mich.; loadmaster Michael Sheets, 36, of Ypsilanti, Mich.; and maintenance crewman Timothy Garrett, 51, of Louisville, Ky.
Building model planes and working on real ones comprised Stockdale's passion, filling the family's basement with models in his youth, jumping into aviation as a career at age 16 — and later working at two Detroit-area airports.
Stockdale also knew the dangers of flying, his older brother said Tuesday.
"He always said it was dangerous," said Glenn Stockdale, 55. "He would always say, 'You either will die in a car crash or a ball of flame in a plane.'"
AP / Courtesy Stockdale Family
Gary Stockdale, 51, of Romulus, Mich., was killed in a cargo plane crash on Monday.
Lipka had flown in Iraq as well as Afghanistan and had close calls before, said his stepfather, Dave Buttman.
"There was risk there all the time. He knew the risks. He volunteered to take the trips," Buttman told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis. "Basically, you're taking your chances flying in there and he was just happy to be one of the pilots to do it."
The Dubai-bound Boeing 747-400 — operated by National Air Cargo — crashed just after takeoff Monday from Bagram Air Base around 11:20 a.m. local time, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement Tuesday.
The accident site is within the perimeter of Bagram Air Base.
The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for downing the plane, but NATO said the claims were false and there was no sign of insurgent activity in the area at the time of the crash.
The Afghanistan Ministry of Transportation and Commercial Aviation is leading the investigation. The NTSB is investigating the crash alongside the ministry. The team will be composed of three NTSB investigators, as well as representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing, the NTSB said.
Kaufman said the plane — owned by National Airlines, an Orlando, Fla.-based subsidiary of National Air Cargo — was carrying vehicles and other cargo.
Elena Garrett, of Jeffersonville, Ind., just across the Ohio River from Louisville, said ex-husband Timothy Garrett would have turned 52 on Saturday. They have two daughters together, ages 11 and 12.