TOWANDA, PA -- A community in Bradford County is mourning the loss of a father, Air Force veteran, and pilot after a plane crash.
The small, two-passenger plane crashed in a wooded area just outside of Towanda Wednesday afternoon.
Friends tell Newswatch 16 the pilot was Scott Wilcox of Sugar Run.
A father, a martial arts instructor, a decorated veteran. Simply put, Wilcox had done some super things in his life, and that's how his friends say they'll remember him. Many people say he was larger than life.
"I think that most people are going to think about Scott and see that he kind of was a superhero."
"If you knew Scott, you knew he enjoyed life, every minute of it."
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating after a plane crashed on a hillside a few miles from the Towanda airport.
Friends say Wilcox was flying the plane. He was killed.
John Kulick was friends with Wilcox for nearly 30 years. Kulick couldn't help but smile when thinking about Wilcox. He recalls Wilcox as a business owner and a health and fitness enthusiast.
"He tried to talk me into joining the gym. He'd tell me, 'You're gonna get fat,'" Kulick said.
Friends said Wilcox helped train thousands of children and adults over the years. Most recently, he was at The Edge, a martial arts studio in Towanda.
Word of the plane crash came as a shock to Randi Morse and her children who were trained by Wilcox.
"Two of his senseis were here to open the doors as normal. The show didn't slow down, and Scott wouldn't have wanted it to," said Morse. "I think the community is going to miss him an awful, awful lot just because of his bigger than life presence, always pitching in, never too busy to say hello."
An autopsy is scheduled for Friday.
Investigators say it could take more than a year until they know what exactly caused the crash in Bradford County.
The pilot of a single-engine plane was killed Wednesday in a crash near the Bradford County Airport, authorities said.
The Bradford County Coroner's Office confirmed the plane's sole occupant is dead.
Coroner Thomas Carman said officials have a tentative identity of the victim, but won't release the name until his identity is confirmed.
The Federal Aviation Administration, which is leading the investigation, released the following statement:
"A Zodiac Lite sport aircraft crashed in a wooded area approximately two miles east of Bradford County Airport in Towanda, Pa., at about 11:30 a.m. today," the statement from FAA spokesman Jim Peters said. "Check with local authorities for information about the pilot. The FAA will investigate and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause of the accident."
The FAA defines a light sport aircraft as a simple-to-operate, easy-to-fly aircraft with a single reciprocating engine, unpressurized cabin, fixed landing gear, one- or two-person occupancy and maximum flight speed of 138 mph.
Pennsylvania state police at Towanda said they would not provide any information about the crash.
Emergency officials on the scene say they don't know if the plane was taking off or landing at the airport when the crash occurred, according to our broadcast news partner, WENY-TV.
A sign greets visitors to the Bradford County Airport. A plane crashed near the field Wednesday. (Photo: WENY-TV PHOTO)
Woodside Road, which runs behind the airport, was closed to traffic Wednesday afternoon.
The Bradford County Airport is just south of Towanda in central Bradford County.
The airport is operated by the Bradford County Airport Authority, with members appointed by the county commissioners.
MONROE TOWNSHIP -- One person is dead after a plane crashed in a wooded area just miles from the airport outside Towanda Wednesday.
The fire chief of Monroe Hose Company says they had to walk through a wooded area to get to the crash site. The plane was still on fire when they got to it.
The coroner says the pilot was killed. Officials have not released the pilot's name at this time.
According to FAA officials, a Zodiac light sport aircraft crashed in a wooded area about two miles east of the Bradford County Airport near Towanda around 11:30 a.m.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate what led to the crash.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Details on aircraft involved in fatal Bradford County crash
By Cara Demers, Reporter/Anchor
Connect Jul 20, 2017 5:55 PM EST
PAINTED POST (WENY) -- There are still dozens of questions surrounding Wednesday's fatal plane crash in Bradford County. One thing we do know is the type of plane that went down.
The plane was a Zodiac CH-601. That model is described as a light sport aircraft.
The manufacturer's website says it's an affordable plane typically flown by sport pilots or for strict recreational use.
It was a two-seater plane with a fixed wing single-engine.
According to the FAA registry, it was registered to Scott Lee Wilcox.
Earlier models were typically ready-kit planes, meaning they could be bought and then constructed at home. It wasn't until a few years ago that these planes began being constructed in factories.
"That particular design was originally manufactured as an experimental in Europe," says Jim Doane, Pilot and Instructor at Costa Flying Services. "It recently, over the past couple of years, has reached a popularity where it's being manufactured in a factory in, I believe it's Georgia."
There has no been confirmed cause of the crash as of right now.
The aircraft involved in the accident was previously registered in Florida.
Although it hasn't been confirmed this particular plane did come from a kit, it was manufactured back in 2007--meaning it very well could have been constructed at home.
Time: 11:30 LT
Zenair CH 601 XL Zodiac
C/n / msn: 601-040S
Fatalities: Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities: 0
Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: 2 miles east of Bradford County Airport (N27), Towanda, PA - United States of America
The Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) crashed in a wooded area. There was a post impact fire. Emergency parachute of the plane was released.
The pilot was deadly injured.