Pilot of crashed top-dresser named

A Rotorua pilot killed in a plane crash was engaged to be married and "always dreamed" of being an agricultural pilot, his family say.

Police have released the name of Samuel Kershaw, known as Sam, who was the sole occupant of a top dressing plane that crashed in Waikite Valley about 1.20pm Saturday.

His family have released a statement, saying Kershaw was a "dedicated and careful pilot" who loved spending time with his fiancée April and their dog J.

"Sam, a dedicated and careful pilot, was passionate about aviation and worked hard for many years to fulfil his number one ambition in life - becoming an Ag pilot."

Kershaw, 26, leaves behind his parents, brothers and fiancée.

His family said he would be remembered for his love of the outdoors, "particularly flying and his quiet careful nature".

"He was quiet, obsessed with aviation, pedantic, careful and enthusiastic about flying but he still had a life outside of aviation riding motorbikes and mountain bikes.

"He just always had to be on an adventure and just loved being with April and J, his dog.

Police said the cause of the crash was being investigated.

Kershaw's family family have requested privacy while they come to terms with their loss.