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May 16, 2011 at 5:16 PM

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Pilot killed in Arlington crash ID'd as emeritus UW prof

Posted by Queenie Wong

A Seattle pilot who died in the crash of a one-seat, lightweight plane at Arlington Municipal Airport on Saturday has been identified as University of Washington Emeritus Professor Eugene Vance, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The plane crashed just before 3:50 p.m. in a grassy area on the northwest side of the airfield, Kristin Banfield, a city spokeswoman, said Saturday. The plane burst into flames, said Banfield.

Vance, 77, was an Emeritus Professor of French, comparative literature and comparative religion at the University of Washington. He had also taught at Yale University, the Université de Montréal and Emory University, according the university’s website.

“He was a passionate intellectual presence on our campus for 20 years, and his passion for the life of the mind never dimmed,” said Robert Stacey, University of Washington’s divisional dean of arts and humanities in an email. “The world is diminished whenever we lose someone like Gene Vance,” the email said.

KIRO-TV quoted Brainard Lee, a pilot who witnessed the crash, as saying the plane took off too slowly and at too steep an angle. Lee told the station the plane’s nose and wing hit the ground; then the aircraft flipped and burst into flames.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating, said Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. He said that it’s still unclear whether the plane was taking off or landing before the crash.

The plane is a 2006 SportCruiser, manufactured by Czech Aircraft Works, Banfield said.

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