Witness saw plane wobbling before fatal crash in Washington

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In the moments before a home-built plane crashed last month in Washington County and killed the pilot, it wobbled and then banked sharply to the left, according to witness accounts provided to federal investigators.

The pilot, Igor Novodran, a renowned figure-skating coach, was practicing touch-and-go landings at Washington County Airport in his experimental aircraft when the crash occurred March 11 around 2:08 p.m.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board are continuing to review the accident in an effort to determine its cause. The witness accounts come from a preliminary report made available last week.

Mr. Novodran, 52, a Ukrainian immigrant, trained figure skaters at Robert Morris University Island Sports Center. His wife said he had a pilot’s license for about five years.

Mr. Novodran was flying his single-engine 1998 Avid Bandit plane, working for about half an hour on touch-and-go landings and takeoffs.

One witness told investigators that the plane was flying lower than any other aircraft she had seen doing touch-and-go maneuvers during the six years she had lived in the area.

The woman, who was outside cleaning her windows, saw the plane "wobbling" from side to side before making a “hard left, descending turn” with the nose pointed down.

Both wings and the forward fuselage were destroyed, according to the report.

The Allegheny Flight Standards District Office had previously confirmed that the plane met all airworthiness standards.


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