The airplane, built by a team led by Wilson, of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, crashed shortly after takeoff from Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base, near Burns Flat, according to news reports.
“It is with great sadness in our hearts that we can confirm the passing of our great leader and mentor Scotty Wilson early today in a tragic accident involving our beloved aircraft,” the project team said on Aug. 6 in a post on its Facebook page.
According to news reports, the flight was planned to be the last before the aircraft went on permanent museum display.
The replica had been in development for seven years. Its first test flight on Aug. 19, 2015, was successful, but the aircraft was damaged after landing when a brake failed, causing it to depart the runway.
“Such is the nature of flight testing a new design. The relevant news is we successfully flew the Bugatti 100P for the first time. The plane flew beautifully,” said the team in a Facebook post.
In March 2014, Wilson, a former fighter pilot, discussed in an AOPA interview the importance to him and the Bugatti Project team of creating a flyable replica of the racer designed in the 1930s by Ettore Bugatti and engineer Louis de Monge. The original aircraft, which had been hidden in a barn from German forces invading Paris during World War II, sustained damage during its concealment, and never flew.
The restored original became an exhibit at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s EAA Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
“The airplane crosses national and cultural boundaries. It appeals to people who are interested in cars, airplanes, the history of technology, art, art nouveau, art deco. It is a classic design all by itself," Wilson said during the 2014 interview.