Fiery Plane Crash Leaves Modesto Man’s Family In Mourning


POLICE SAY HE LED THEM ON A LENGTHY CHASE LAST WEEK THAT ENDED IN A GUN BATTLE. WE LEARNED THE IDENTITY OF A PILOT KILLED IN A FIERY CRASH AT THE OAKDALE AIRPORT THIS WEEKEND. HE SHARED OUR PASSION DEEPLY. THE 78-YEAR-OLD FROM MONTH DISTO WAS THE ONLY PERSON ON BOARD THE PLANE SATURDAY. LIVE FROM THE OAKDALE AIRPORT WITH MORE ON THIS PILOT. Reporter:. A LOT OF SHOCK AND HEART ACHE AT THE AIRPORT. HE’S BEEN FLYING FOR OVER 50 YEARS AND HE’S BEING GREATLY MISSED BY THE COMMUNITY AND ESPECIALLY BY KIDS WHO DREAM OF FLYING. HE TOUCHED ALL OF OUR LIVES DEEPLY. GOOD MAN, YOU COULDN’T ASK FOR A BETTER FRIEND. A DIFFICULT LAST FEW DAYS HERE AT OAKDALE AIRPORT AFTER A CRASH SATURDAY MORNING THAT TOOK THE LIFE OF 78-YEAR-OLD PILOT LEON SHAFFER. IT’S GOING TO BE A LOSS THAT’S FAR BEYOND THE AIRPLANE. I KNOW WE’VE ALL HAD A ROUGH WEEK. SHAFFER HAD BEEN FLYING FOR MORE THAN 50 YEARS WITH WELL OVER 10,000 FLIGHT HOURS. HE USED TO BE A CERTIFIED FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR AT THE AIRPORT AND LOVED INTRODUCING KIDS TO AVIATION THROUGH THE YOUNG EAGLES PROGRAM. HE LOVED IT AS MUCH AS THE KIDS DID AND HE NEVER CAME BACK WITH ANY KID THAT WASN’T SMILING EAR TO EAR. [ INDISCERNIBLE ] THIS 10-YEAR-OLD ASPIRING PILOT IS HEARTEN AND REMEMBERS SHAFFER TEACHING HIM ABOUT THE MAINTENANCE OF A PLANE. HE’S PRETTY MUCH THE BEST PERSON TO TEACH ME EVERYTHING SO CLEARLY. SO THIS IS MY DAD. HE WAS PROBABLY 20-YEARS OLD. SHAFFER’S DAUGHTER SAYS HER FATHER GREW UP IN MODESTO AND HIS PASSION WAS IN THE SKY. IT GAVE HIM FREEDOM. IT ALSO WAS SOMETHING HE COULD DO THAT NOT EVERYBODY DOES. TWICE A WEEK HE WOULD HELP TEACH ADULTS HOW TO READ AND WRITE AT THE LITERACY CENTER AS ANOTHER WAY HE LOVED TO GIVE BACK. HE LOVED LIFE, HE LOVED KIDS, HE LOVED WHAT HE DID OUT HERE. HE LOVED WHAT HE DID IN THE COMMUNITY. CLEARLY HE HAD AN IMPACT HERE IN THIS COMMUNITY AND OF COURSE THE BIG QUESTION IS WHAT WENT WRONG HERE. THE NTSB IS INVESTIGATING BUT

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