Pilot killed in SLO plane crash is identified by friends, relatives

jhickey@thetribunenews.comJune 25, 2013 

It may be several weeks before the identity of the pilot who died in a San Luis Obispo plane crash Monday can be positively confirmed using DNA testing. However, friends and relatives believe the pilot was Scott Metzger, 44, of San Luis Obispo.

Bruce Metzger, who identified himself as Scott Metzger’s father, could not confirm that his son was the person who died in the crash without such tests, but he said, “I have been told enough to know.” He said he was briefed by his son’s wife that there had been an accident involving his son’s plane, but the victim had not been positively identified.

The pilot was the only person on board the small twin-engine plane, which crashed into a FedEx truck near the Promega Biosciences building on Granada Drive in San Luis Obispo.

“In my opinion — it sounds so stupid because it sounds like all of the fathers — Scott was a great father, a great husband, and a wonderful son. That’s our memory of Scott,” Bruce Metzger said.

A former computer science student at Cal Poly, Scott Metzger was a technology expert, inventor, and business executive currently working as the chief operating and technology officer at RiverMeadow Software, with offices in San Jose and Massachusetts, according to the firm’s website.

Messages left for Metzger’s wife, Jenni, as well as several colleagues at RiverMeadow, were not immediately returned Tuesday.

Bruce Metzger last heard from his son the day before the crash, when they spoke on the phone about personal issues and a recent Father’s Day gift, but there was no mention of an upcoming flight, he said.

Jim Willis, director of operations for Pigs Can Fly Aviation LLC, saw Scott Metzger's plane crash Monday. He did not see Metzger get in the plane but recognized the aircraft as Metzger’s.

The plane had been tied down in front of PCF's hangar and had recently been looked at by the company, Willis said.

About a week ago, Metzger brought the plane into PCF because it was running rough, Willis said. PCF took a quick look and found nothing wrong but told Metzger if he wanted them to take a more detailed look it would cost more money, Willis said. Metzger declined to do that, Willis said.

“There wasn't anything that we did of any significant time on the airplane,” Willis said, adding that his firm did fix a small crack on a wing tip.

Willis said Metzger, who has a pilot license, did multi-engine training at PCF over the last couple of months. It was during that time that Willis believes Metzger bought his new plane.

Tim Williams, chief executive officer and founder of San Luis Obispo tech company Digital West, knew Metzger for more than 10 years. “You could tell he was always thinking. When you got him to laugh out loud, it made your day because he was normally such a quiet guy. His smile was infectious,” he wrote in an email to The Tribune.

Additionally, Williams posted a public message on his company’s blog Tuesday afternoon, which began: “The technology community suffered a great loss yesterday …” and went on to note that Metzger had been killed in the plane crash.

Early in his career, Metzger had worked at well-known technology companies such as MCI, IBM and Apple, according to previous Tribune reports. He had also worked in other industries, which included game development, education, healthcare and financial services, according to RiverMeadow’s website.

In 2006, The Tribune wrote that Metzger, then chief technology officer of San Luis Obispo credit management company TransUnion, had been honored by InfoWorld magazine as one of the top 25 chief technology officers.

Metzger joined RiverMeadow in the fall of 2012, according to a news release from the company.

Gallery: More photos from the scene of Monday's plane crash »

Assistant City Editor Jonah Owen Lamb contributed to this report.

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