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Soldier killed, brother paralyzed after crash of flight intended to scatter their father's ashes

Scott Landis is shown during a 2006 deployment to Southwest Asia.

EMPLOYER SUPPORT OF THE GUARD AND RESERVE

By JORDAN GRAHAM | Boston Herald | Published: August 28, 2018

BOSTON, Mass. (Tribune News Service) Scott Landis, an Army National Guardsman, was piloting a single-engine plane, ready to sprinkle his father's ashes with his brother, when the plane's engine lost power on takeoff and crashed into a pond, killing him and leaving his brother paralyzed, according to friends and officials.

"Salt of the earth, a great guy. Scott is just a great guy, always willing to help anybody out, do anything, a gentleman," said Peter Oakley, manager of the Cranland Airport in Hanson, where the plane crashed.

"I don't know anybody who's had one bad thing to say about him."

Friday afternoon, the plane flown by Landis, 34, and carrying his brother, Patrick Landis, 29, crashed shortly after takeoff, Oakley said. He said he could hear the engine lose power on the surveillance video. Landis was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital and died there, according to the Plymouth District Attorney's office.

The Landis' uncle Don Conway said Friday his nephews were taking off to scatter the ashes of their father, who died two weeks ago from cancer.

Scott Landis, Oakley said, was deployed to Kosovo and had briefly returned when his father passed away.

Landis, who co-owns another plane, was a Blackhawk helicopter pilot and instructor, Oakley and Conway said, and was a chief warrant officer in the Army National Guard.

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Landis' LinkedIn page lists him as an aviation safety inspector. Oakley said Landis was married and had a 1-year-old son.

Landis' brother, Patrick, has been paralyzed from the waist down, according to a GoFundMe campaign set up by his family. Patrick Landis suffered a spinal injury and numerous broken bones, according to the page, which has raised nearly $15,000. A GoFundMe campaign for Scott Landis' wife, Staci, and child, Jack, raised more than $56,000 by Tuesday morning.

The plane, an Aeronca 7AC Champion, according to the Federal Aviation Authority, was built in 1946. It is relatively rare, with only 17 registered in Massachusetts, according to the FAA.

The crash is now under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. An NTSB spokesman, Eric Weiss, said a preliminary report was expected in seven to 10 days.

Oakley said the pilots who fly out of Cranland are a group of close-knit friends who often take short flights to Nantucket, New Hampshire or wherever struck their fancy for Sunday breakfast, a tradition Landis would join whenever he could.

"It's like a big family," Oakley said.
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