Friday, July 21, 2017

HOMEMADE PLANES TAKE MORE LIVES: Pilot Scott Lee Wilcox killed after his homemade Zenair CH 601 XL Zodiac Lite sport aircraft crashed and burned in a wooded area approximately two miles east of Bradford County Airport in Towanda, Pa.

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.


Date: 19-JUL-2017
Time: 11:30 LT
Zenair CH 601 XL Zodiac
Owner/operator: Private
Registration: N601PH
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


Departure airport:

Destination airport:

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.


Fire deaths rose 36% in Minnesota during the first 6 months of 2017

An increase in Minnesota fire deaths the first half of this year has firefighters concerned.

Fire deaths rose 36 percent in Minnesota during the first 6 months of 2017, according to State Fire Marshal Bruce West. There have been 30 deaths so far this year, outpacing the average from the first half of the previous five years, 26.8 deaths.

Though the preliminary data doesn’t show a leading cause, West said most fatal fires are caused by human behavior.

“We just want people to be aware of what they’re doing, to be aware of the increase, and to show a little extra care,” West said.

Typically, careless smoking causes the most fatal fires in Minnesota. While smoking this year so far has only been identified as the cause of one fatal fire, most of the cases remain under investigation. Other causes include an unattended portable heater, cooking grease, suicide and careless open burning. Three of the fires — 10 percent — were from gas leaks.

“There’s no real trend (in the overall numbers),” West said. “We see peaks and valleys. One year we have a reduction, the next year we might have a peak. Careless smoking continues to be the number one cause overall.” Flowers are placed in the fence in front of a four-plex at 1035 Arkwright Street in St. Paul in January. A fatal fire at the building Wednesday killed Tiffany Alexander, 27. Relatives said her 2-year-old son William, severely injured in the fire, had also died. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

Fires are consistently more common in the winter time, particularly in the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. This year, all but four took place before May. The most recent fatal fire, a house fire in Maplewood, was the only fire death in June.

The data is too preliminary to determine if the total number of fires in Minnesota has changed this year.

The average age of the victim was 60 years old. Fire fatalities have occurred all over the state, including three in Minneapolis, two in St. Paul, and one each in Brooklyn Park, Maplewood, Mound, Roseville and Wayzata.