GROVE CITY Pa. (WKBN) – An 80-year-old pilot from Grove City is alive after his experimental plane crashed late Friday morning at the airport in Grove City.
Scott Winder, a mainstay at the airport, who also is the president of the Experimental Aircraft Association 161, was performing takeoffs and landings in his Volks model plane around 11 a.m. He was on his fourth takeoff when all of a sudden, he drifted about 200 feet left of the center line and struck an embankment.
The plane crashed in a swamp area not far from the runway.
“We don’t have any idea why he was all the way over here. We would like to be able to ask him that question. We don’t know what went wrong and what went right. It would have been a lot better if he was a lot closer to the center of the runway,” Grove City Airport manager Doug Thomas said.
Friend and EAA 161 Vice President James Gaiter said he rushed to the scene when he heard the news.
“I have known Scott for the last five to six years. He is a very gentle person,” Gaiter said. “I hope everything turns out alright for Scott.”
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation and Safety Board are investigating the crash. Winder was flown by medical helicopter to a Pittsburgh hospital for his injuries, where he is in critical condition with a head injury, according to CBS affiliate KDKA out of Pittsburgh.
Stat Med-Evac is stationed at the airport.
“They were the first ones on the scene and rendered Scott a lot of help immediately,” Thomas said.
Gaiter said experimental planes like the one Winder was flying are safe and must be approved by the FAA. He said he has no idea what went wrong.
“Something went wrong. Maybe a loss of power in the aircraft. That’s only my estimation. I would have to leave that up to the NTSB and the FAA when they do their investigation,” Gaiter said.