Friends remember Spotsylvania student pilot killed in crash - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Friends remember Spotsylvania student pilot killed in crash

Photo: airport-data.com Photo: airport-data.com
Photo: airport-data.com Photo: airport-data.com
Photo: airport-data.com Photo: airport-data.com
Photo: airport-data.com Photo: airport-data.com
ORANGE, VA (WWBT) -

Grieving friends are remembering a young aspiring pilot who died when the plane he was piloting crashed Sunday near an airport in Orange, VA. 

Ryan Lee McCall, 16, died at the scene of the crash in a field east of the Orange County Airport, Virginia State Police said Sunday afternoon. Several of McCall's friends on Sunday emphasized how kind and sincere he was, calling him very bright and always smiling. Many of those friends took to social media services like Twitter to express how devastated they are following the tragic news about their friend, and how their thoughts and prayers are with his family.

According to the Daily Progress, McCall was a student pilot at Skyline Aviation Services flight school in Orange, VA. Seventeen is the minimum age for receiving a pilot's license, but Federal Aviation Administration regulations state that students can begin flight instruction at 14, and can begin to log the required solo flying hours at age 16.

A witness told the paper the downed plane was leaking fuel after it crashed, having possibly taken a nosedive. State police said the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are working with law enforcement to determine the cause of the crash.

In a statement released Sunday evening, Rene Daniels, communications director for Spotsylvania County Schools said, "We were very saddened to hear the news about the death of Riverbend High Sophomore Ryan McCall. Ryan will be deeply missed. The Riverbend leadership team is working closely with the counseling staff to address the concerns of our entire educational community as we cope with this loss. We will have additional counseling staff in place on Monday, March 30 and the coming days as necessary to support our students and staff. Our thoughts are with the McCall family during this very difficult time."

State police were called to the crash site around 9:45 a.m. Sunday. McCall was the only occupant in the plane, a 1974 Piper single-engine, fixed-wing aircraft owned by William Rushing III of Springfield, VA.

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