WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa. - Channel 11 has learned more about the pilot of a one-seat, experimental plane that crashed near the Washington County airport Tuesday afternoon.
Igor Novodran, 52, was a Ukrainian celebrity who became a well-respected coach in Pittsburgh. Novodran taught at the RMU Island Sports Center.
"He had coached in Pittsburgh for many, many years and most recently he had been traveling to Europe and traveling across the United States, working with higher level skaters and doing seminars and things like that,” said Beth Sutton.
Sutton coached alongside Novodran.
“It’s kind of shocking. I just saw him a week ago, and now he’s gone,” said Sutton.
Witnesses reported that Novodran was practicing touch-and-gos -- a common practice where you don’t land the plane but touch down on the runway and lift right back up.
The plane fell about 200 feet, landed on its top and slid over a hillside, an emergency dispatcher said.
Novodran was transported from the scene of the crash on Vankirk Road to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital via medical helicopter.
The medical examiner confirmed Novodran’s death to Channel 11 News Tuesday night, and said he died around 3:30 p.m.
Novodran's wife and daughter were with him at the hospital when he died. Sutton said he was a family man.
"He had brought his sister and brother-in-law here and helped put him through nursing school and as much as we have a job to do on the ice, he was good to his daughter and his family," she said.
Air safety investigator Patrick Murray told Channel 11 Wednesday that pilots flying the light sport aircrafts don’t face nearly the same regulations with the FAA or have to undergo medical testing.
“In this category, the pilot was only required to have a driver’s license to fly the aircraft,” said Murray.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.