Paul Schuda, the director of the NTSB's training center in Ashburn, Va., was killed when the Cessna piloted by his friend Louis Cantilena crashed into a heavily wooded area in southeastern Indiana. Cantilena's daughter was also killed in the crash.
Two dogs were also on board the plane; one survived.
The NTSB is an independent federal agency that investigates all civil aviation accidents in the United States and selected accidents in other modes of transportation.
Schuda and Cantilena were both members of the Civil Air Patrol. Schuda was previously a deputy director at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a professor of chemistry at the University of Maryland, College Park, the air patrol says.
Cantilena was a professor of medicine in clinical pharmacology at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., according to the air patrol.