EUGENE, Ore. -- Flying was the love of Benjamin Scott Henderson's life, a joy he shared with others by towing pilots aloft in an engine-less sailplane behind a single engine Piper.
Henderson, 41, who went by Scott, died Sunday in a plane crash near the Creswell airport when his Piper Pawnee PA-25 crashed in a field and burst into flames.
"He was a really great pilot and an awesome dad," said Stacy Alberts, Henderson's sister. She said Henderson had been flying for about four years and got his pilot's license three years ago
A crew removed the plane's wreckage from the scene of the crash Monday afternoon.
The pilot in the sailplane escaped injury Sunday. Steve E. Sneller, 51, of Corvallis was alone in the glider, which returned safely to Creswell airport after Sneller noticed Henderson's tow plane in distress and disconnected the tow cable.
'Piloting and flying was the joy of his life'
Henderson worked in sales and design for James Heating and Air Conditioning. Co-workers there said flying was the love of his life.
"Scott has been with the company for 8 years," said Brian Chittim, owner of James Heating and Air Conditioning. "He was very enthusiastic about flying. Piloting and flying was the joy of his life."
Henderson is survived by a 15-year-old daughter, Alex (below). His sister said Henderson was in a committed romatic relationship with Eugene attorney Kim Covington.
Henderson operated Scotty Air LLC out of Hobby Field Airport in Creswell, Ore. The company incorporated in Oregon in 2006, according to state records.
Henderson got into towing sailplanes aloft last year, according to an article The Creswell Chronicle published on the venture. Doug Hickman of Pleasant Hill, Ore., filmed the Piper and sailplane successfully taking flight just a few hours before the crash.
The crash sparked a grass fire in the field near the airport Sunday. Fireifghters returned to the scene Monday afternoon after the fire re-ignited and burned more grass.
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