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NTSB releases preliminary report on crash that killed Micron CEO Steve Appleton

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By Paul Johnson

BOISE, IDAHO (KMVT-TV) The National Transportation Safety Board today, released preliminary information on the airplane crash that claimed the life of Micron CEO Steve Appleton. The report said that witnesses first saw the plane lift 5 to 10 feet off the ground, then return to the runway. The report said the pilot taxied back toward the west end of the airport. Minutes later, the report says, the airplane departed runway 10R and began the initial climb to about 100 to 200 feet above ground level. The aircraft made a steep bank to the left and began to roll while rapidly losing altitude. The airplane came to rest in a dirt area between the parallel runways 10R and 10L. Recordings from air traffic control captured the radio transmissions. The report says the pilot (Appleton) transmitted to the controller that “we’re going to land here and stop … we’ve got a problem,” followed by “I am going to taxi back and see if I can figure it out.” About 7 minutes later he told the controller that he would like to depart and stay in the traffic pattern. At about 8:55 am he made his last transmission when he requested that he would “like to turn back and … um … land … coming back in.”

The following is the complete report.

PRELIMINARY CRASH REPORT BY NTSB:
NTSB Identification: WPR12FA089
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, February 03, 2012 in Boise, ID
Aircraft: GARZA CARLOS LANCAIR IVP-TP, registration: N321LC
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.
On February 03, 2012, at 0856 mountain standard time, a single-engine experimental Lancair IVP-TP, N321LC, impacted terrain while on the initial takeoff climb from Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho. The air transport pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Raleighwood Aviation LLC and was being operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The personal flight was originating from Boise and the pilot had intended to stay in the airport's traffic pattern. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed.
Numerous witnesses located at the airport observed the airplane on the first takeoff attempt and on the subsequent accident flight. A majority of them stated that the airplane initially departed 10R and climbed to about 5 to 10 feet above ground level (agl) before touching back down on the runway. The pilot taxied back toward the west end of the airport. Shortly thereafter, the airplane departed 10R again and began the initial climb to about 100 to 200 feet agl. It then made a steep bank to the left and began to roll while rapidly losing altitude. The airplane completed about one revolution and impacted terrain in a nose-low attitude. The airplane came to rest in a dirt area between the parallel runways 10R and 10L.
The Boise Air Traffic Control Facility provided the recorded radio communications between the pilot and controllers. The pilot was initially cleared and departed from runway 10R about 0846. He transmitted to the controller that “we're going to land here and stop… we’ve got a problem,” followed by “I am going to taxi back and see if I can figure it out.” About 7 minutes later he told the controller that he would like to depart and stay in the traffic pattern. About 0855 he made his last transmission when he requested that he would “like to turn back in and… um… land… coming back in.”
The first identified point of impact consisted of a crater in the soft terrain where a propeller blade was imbedded (sic); small pieces of airframe and debris surrounded the disrupted dirt. Numerous portions of the airframe were located in the debris field leading from the initial impact to the main wreckage, the largest of which was a majority of the right wing. The main wreckage was located about 80 feet from the initial impact on a magnetic heading of 046 degrees. The main wreckage had sustained thermal damage and consisted of the engine, inboard portion of the left wing, and fuselage (from firewall to aft bulkhead).
A complete airframe teardown examination has been completed. The engine, engine accessories, and three recording devices have been retained for further investigation.


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