Crews to scale back search for missing Peoria pilot

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PEORIA - A Peoria man took his homebuilt aircraft out for a flight near the Grand Canyon three weeks ago and hasn't been seen or heard from since.

The National Park Service has been conducting thorough air searches of the area where Joseph Radford's plane was last seen flying on March 11.

In a last attempt for answers, the Civil Air Service brought in a special Surrogate Predator aircraft this week to conduct high-resolution video mapping of areas of the canyon. Crews on the ground will review the footage.

Radford, 47, was an avid flier and longtime employee of Sands Chevrolet. He was an active volunteer with the group Pilots N' Paws that rescues animals and flies them to no-kill shelters.

"What's happening right now is so unlike Joe that no one can put two and two together," said Radford's friend, Fred Coury.