FRONT ROYAL, VA. (WUSA9) - Investigators said Steven Zaboji never called for help or signaled that he was in any danger before a deadly plane crash in Warren County, Virginia on Saturday.
Loved ones said Zaboji was an experienced pilot and flight instructor.
“A plane had crashed off the runway here at Front Royal airport,” Robert Gretz, with the National Transportation Safety Board, said.
Zaboji was towing a glider plane with two people on it.
Video from YouTube showed what the process looks like.
The two planes are attached with a cord.
If the glider pilot cannot see the plane in front them, they are trained to cut the cord and return to the airport.
That is what investigators said happened on Saturday.
“The tow plane had descended below him. When you no longer see the tow plane you're supposed to release,” Gretz explained.
Zaboji’s plane crashed and then burst into flames on private property on Ridgeway Road which is a quarter mile away from the airport.
The plane was packed up and shipped to storage in Delaware as the National Transportation Safety Board begins the investigation.
“His skills were beyond my understanding. The guy knew planes. It's like it was a part of him,” Fred Carrico said.
Those close to Zaboji said he loved flying just as much like his long-time marketing business in Sterling.
“He loved his family. He loved his industry and the aviation world. It is a huge loss. Huge loss,” Carrico said.
The NTSB is planning to release a preliminary report by sometime late next week.
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