Pilot dies in Kodiak plane crash

Wreckage of a plane crash in a wooded area.
Wreckage of a small plane crash in Kodiak, Sunday, November 7, near East Elementary School. (Dylan Simard/KMXT)

A man from Soldotna died Sunday when a small plane crashed in Kodiak shortly after takeoff, according to federal investigators.

Authorities have released few details on the 2 p.m. crash except to confirm that the 39-year-old pilot was killed. The crash happened a few hundred yards from the runway near Kodiak’s East Elementary School.

Kodiak police identified the pilot as Derek Leichliter. He was reportedly headed to Saltery Cove for a hunting trip.

The aircraft was not carrying any passengers and there’s been little information gathered so far by crash investigators, according to Clint Johnson, National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska office chief.

“We do have two investigators en route to Kodiak as we speak right now,” Johnson said. “And that’ll be the first order of business, is trying to figure out what the intent of the flight was, where it was headed, what the load was on board and to gain those details.”

Johnson confirmed that the plane Leichliter was flying was a Wag-Aero 2+2, a single-engine kit aircraft that resembles a Piper Super Cub. 

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