Figure skating coach dies in crash at Washington County Airport
A former Ukranian national figure skating champion who coached at the Robert Morris University Island Sports Center died Tuesday when the single-seat, experimental airplane he was flying crashed at the Washington County Airport.
Igor A. Novodran, 52, of Upper St. Clair, died at 3:35 p.m. in the emergency room of UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland, a spokesman for the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office said.
“It's very tragic when someone so young with such a lovely family dies like that, so unexpectedly, doing something he enjoyed and was doing as a hobby,” said Beth Sutton, director of figure skating at the Island Sports Arena on Neville Island.
The plane went down about 2:10 p.m., falling about 200 feet, landing on its roof and sliding over a hillside, county emergency dispatchers said.
“He was out practicing touch-and-go landings — basically practicing landing, which all pilots do — by flying a pattern, landing the plane and then taking back off without stopping or slowing down,” said Scott T. Gray, airport manager, who saw Novodran flying but did not see the crash.
“We don't know exactly what happened. We heard a plane went down a hill at the side of the runway, went out and saw several mechanics from one of the shops looking over the hillside,” Gray said.
The aircraft, an Avid Bandit, sustained substantial damage, according to a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Gray said he believed Novodran had owned the plane for about a year.
Novodran spent years training what Sutton calls “high-level skaters,” both locally and nationally.
A biography accompanying an announcement of his appearance last summer at The Pond Figure Skating Club at The Pond in Newark, Del., stated that Novodran “has more than 33 years of coaching experience ... specializing in skating skills, off-ice and on-ice jumps, spins and choreography.”
“His students have won medals at numerous national and international competitions,” the biography said.
He was not a Robert Morris employee but coached as an independent contractor at the Island Sports Center for about 10 years, Sutton said.
“Igor always had a joke to tell,” she said.
“He was the only male figure skating coach among a bunch of lovely ladies. He took his work seriously, but he always liked to have a good time, giving us a hug. He was a jovial guy with a lighter side,” Sutton said. “When he returned from the Olympics (in Sochi), he brought back a few things for us.”
“His wife, Svetlana, used to teach ballet to our skaters. His daughter, Anastasia, is a student at Robert Morris and is a member of the ice crew for the hockey team, so his whole family has been involved with us at one time or another.”
Novodran was the author of a book about a famed Russian figure skating coach, titled: “From Torino to Vancouver: Four Years with Alexey Mishin — a Man Shorter in Height but Larger Than Life.”
Michael Hasch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Staff writer Jason Cato contributed to this report.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pregnant woman struck by van in North Side dies; doctors save baby
- Steelers’ backups ready to run
- Millions in pollution fines went unused for decades in Allegheny County
- Prison phone cost to drop 70% in Pa.
- West Virginia whips VMI, off to best start since 2009-10 season
- Dinners, other Thanksgiving events planned in region
- Group’s proposed fracking moratorium for Allegheny County parks to go on council agenda
- Starkey: Rutherford will add when timing’s right
- Western Pa. business owners urge shoppers to think small
- Miami coach Golden shrugs off recent losses as Pitt visits
- Parents can make holidays ‘teachable moment’ for kids