NTSB Identification: CEN16FA086
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, January 14, 2016 in Meeker, CO
Aircraft: BEECH C35, registration: N2025D
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. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On January 14, 2016 about 1745 central standard time (CST), a Beechcraft C-35, N2025D, was destroyed when it impacted terrain near Meeker, Colorado. The airplane departed from Provo Municipal Airport (KPVU), Provo, Utah, enroute to Granby-Grand County Airport (KGNB), Granby, Colorado. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. No instrument flight plan had been filed.
According to preliminary information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration, while enroute during the accident flight, the pilot requested flight following from air traffic and requested clearance to fly a higher altitude to stay clear of clouds. After receiving flight following, air traffic control queried the pilot on his change of route and altitude before noticing the airplane descend and losing radar and radio contact. A search and rescue effort was activated and the airplane was found early the following morning in mountainous terrain.
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Salt Lake City FSDO-07
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The Rio Blanco County Sheriff's Office said Monday that Hiler was earlier seen fueling his plane in Provo and that officials believe no one was with him when he left the airport on his way to Grandby, Colorado.
Hiler was an avid pilot and longtime ski and snowboard instructor who came to Utah to teach in the winters, according to friend Jason Arnold.
"He was just a great human being," Arnold said.
Hiler was returning from a trip to Reno, Nevada, when his single-engine Bonanza 35 disappeared from air traffic control radar, according to Arnold.
The crash happened in a remote area of Colorado about 15 miles west of Meeker, according to police. Investigators said a witness reported seeing a plane banking at high altitude and hearing an explosion Thursday evening.
Arnold said Hiler rebuilt his plane himself and equipped it to fly at high altitudes.
Hiler was also a first counselor in the Granby LDS branch presidency, according to Arnold.
"He gave more for more people with no expectation of anything ever in return," Arnold said.
His birthday, Arnold added, was last week.
Story and photo gallery: http://www.deseretnews.com
MEEKER, Colo. — A man killed in a Colorado plane crash was identified by the Rio Blanco County Sheriff's Office on Monday.
William Ray Hiler, 62, of Tabernash, Colorado, was last seen fueling his plane in Provo, Utah, on Thursday before leaving for Grandby, Colorado, but ultimately crashed near Meeker.
The Rio Blanco County Sheriff's Office said the county communications center received a report of a possible plane crash 15 miles west of Meeker, Colorado, around 6 p.m. Thursday. The witness who reported the accident said, "He heard a plane rev its engine, banked twice at a high altitude and then heard an explosion," the sheriff's office said.
The aircraft, reported to be a Beechcraft C35 Bonanza, had a maximum capacity of six, but only Hiler was believed to be on board, authorities said.
The plane was found by search parties on Friday at 10:30 a.m.
The man's family was informed of the loss after the Rio Blanco County Coroner's office made a positive identification.
RIO BLANCO COUNTY – Authorities on Saturday recovered a body from the wreckage of a plane crash first reported on Thursday night near Meeker.
The Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office says the body was transferred to Grand Junction for an autopsy which will be conducted sometime on Monday.
Rio Blanco County Communications Center received a report of a possible plane crash about 6 p.m. Thursday. The person said he heard a plane rev its engines, saw it bank twice at a high altitude and then heard an explosion.
Denver Center Traffic Control confirmed an aircraft, a Bonanza 35 single-engine - had disappeared off the radar. The flight was on its way to Granby from Salt Lake City.
The plane wreckage was removed from the scene by the NTSB with aid provided by the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office, The Rio Blanco County Coroner's Office, Rio Blanco County SAR, Meeker Fire & Rescue and the White River Snowmobile Club.
The coroner’s office isn't releasing any information on the identity of the body until notification of next of kin is made.
A single-engine airplane crashed approximately 15 miles west of Meeker around 6 p.m. Thursday on its way from Salt Lake City to Granby.
First responders located the fuselage and one set of human remains around 10:30 a.m. Friday and believe there was only one casualty in the crash.
“At this time, we are believing that it’s just the one occupant,” Rio Blanco County Undersheriff Brice Glasscock said.
The aircraft is reported to be a Beechcraft C35 Bonanza, which range in occupancy from four to six passengers, depending on the model.
According to a news release from the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office, “The reporting party stated that he heard a plane rev its engines, banked twice at a high altitude and then heard an explosion.”
Thursday night, one helicopter, seven all-terrain vehicles, 13 snowmobiles and 30 personnel searched an area provided by the National Radar Analysis Team but only found the wing of the plane, part of the propeller and a tire.
The crash site is two miles west of Rio Blanco County Road 5 and County Road 20 on Bureau of Land Management land.
First responders resumed their search of the area at 7 a.m. Friday and secured the wreckage after locating it several hours later.
Rio Blanco Sheriff’s Office has notified the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration and the county coroner.
Glasscock said FAA and NTSB investigators are expected to arrive later in the day Friday and take control of examining the scene.
“We’ll be assisting them and so will BLM,” he said.
Responding agencies included Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office, Classic Air Medical, Rio Blanco County Search and Rescue, Rio Blanco County Road and Bridge Department and BLM
A plane that crashed in remote Rio Blanco County Thursday afternoon, killing the pilot, is likely owned by a man previously connected to allegations of hauling more than 42 pounds of marijuana from Colorado to Kansas three years ago.
According to online flight tracking information from FlightAware.com, a single-engine Beechcraft 35 Bonanza airplane owned by William Hiler of Granby took off from Salt Lake City International Airport at 4:25 p.m. and had been expected to arrive at 6:31 p.m. at Granby County Airport.
The site includes coordinates for the end of the flight that correspond with ones provided in a search area map from the Rio Blanco Sheriff’s Office, the agency coordinating response to the crash.
The tail number of the airplane identified by FlightAware shows it’s owned by Hiler. A spokesman with the FAA, though, would not confirm the tail number of the plane that crashed until next of kin of the pilot could be notified.
Hiler was arrested in July 2013 — but ultimately acquitted — on suspicion of piloting his 1952 plane loaded with $100,000 worth of high-grade marijuana to an Atchison, Kansas, airport, according to news reports.
Read the full story in the Saturday edition of The Daily Sentinel.
RIO BLANCO COUNTY - A plane reportedly crashed about 15 miles west of Meeker while on its way to Granby from Salt Lake City.
At 6 p.m. on Thursday, Rio Blanco County Communications Center received a report of a possible plane crash. The person said he heard a plane rev its engines, saw it bank twice at a high altitude and then heard an explosion.
Denver Center Traffic Control confirmed an aircraft, a Bonanza 35 single-engine - had disappeared off the radar. They gave RBCCC the plane's last known coordinates.
The Rio Blanco County Sheriff's Office and Rio Blanco County Search and Rescue combed the area. Several small items, such as a plane wing, part of a propeller and one tire were found.
The search for the plane continued at 7 a.m. Friday. The plane's fuselage and other aircraft parts were found. What appeared to be human remains were also found in the primary search area.
The NTSB, FAA and Rio Blanco Coroner's Office will go to the crash scene.
It is unknown at this time how many people were onboard the plane at the time of the crash.
Story and photo gallery: http://www.9news.com
RIO BLANCO COUNTY, Colo.-- Authorities with the Rio Blanco County Sheriff's Office on Friday morning said they found the fuselage, more aircraft parts, and what appeared to be human remains after a plane reportedly crashed Thursday night.
Witnesses reported hearing the engine revving shortly before an explosion around 6 p.m., about 15 miles west of Meeker, according to Brice Glasscock, Undersheriff of the Rio Blanco County Sheriff's Office.
Police said witnesses called authorities after hearing a plane rev its engines, banking twice and then heard an explosion.
An air traffic control center in Denver told dispatchers the craft was a Bonanza 35 single-engine aircraft with a maximum 4-6 passengers, according to the press release.
Small items, the planes wings, part of the propeller and one tire were located within a one-half mile search area, police said.
The Rio Blanco County Sheriff's Office secured the area while the search continued Friday morning, and the NTSB will respond to the scene.
Someone called the Rio Blanco County Sheriff's Office Thursday at 6 p.m. and said they heard a plane rev its engine, then they heard an explosion, near Meeker.
Air traffic controllers at the Denver Center Traffic Control said a plane disappeared from radar and gave deputies the coordinates.
Searchers found a plane's wing, part of a propeller and a tire, but no victims.
The search will continue Friday morning.
The missing plane was reported to be a Bonanza 35 single engine aircraft with room for four to six people. There's no word how many people were on board.
The aircraft was flying from Salt Lake City to Granby, Colorado.
The search area is a half mile in size, about 15 miles west of Meeker.
Plane involved in marijuana bust
Courtesy: Atchison Police Department
Courtesy: Atchison Police Department
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ATCHISON, Kan. — Atchison police officers seized an airplane full of marijuana and busted five people Wednesday at the local airport.
Police Chief Mike Wilson said officers worked throughout the night and continue to piece together clues surrounding the incident. Authorities seized 42 pounds of marijuana.
“We developed information that there was a small aircraft headed to Atchison that would have marijuana on it,” Mr. Wilson said. “We also believed there would be a vehicle there to meet them.”
The chief said as information developed during afternoon hours, police officers initiated surveillance at Amelia Earhart Airport.
A 1952 Beechcraft C-35 airplane did land, Mr. Wilson said, and two people were waiting in a car from Kansas City.
“A team of officers converged,” Mr. Wilson said.
There were three people in the plane, all from Colorado. A fourth Colorado resident was waiting in the car with a Kansas City resident.
Arrested at 6:15 p.m. were William R. Hiler, 59, Tabernash, Colo.; Beth A. Branstetter, 22, Kansas City; Lance C. Thompson, 38, Johnstown, Colo.; Daniel L. Brown, 30, Fort Collins, Colo.; and Michael K. Staab, 28, Fort Collins, Colo.
Mr. Wilson said all were taken into custody at the airport, then transported to the Atchison County Jail where they were all booked on possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and no drug tax stamp. Formal charges are pending contingent on Atchison County Attorney Jerry Kuckelman’s review of arrest reports.
Mr. Wilson said in addition to the pot, the plane and a 2008 SAAB were also seized. An investigation is ongoing to determine why Atchison was chosen as a landing spot for drug trafficking.
He said it’s not unusual for the department to work drug cases, but it was unusual that a plane carrying drugs apparently bound for Kansas City would stop in Atchison.
“What this group didn’t plan on was running into a smaller (law enforcement) agency that stopped them in their tracks,” he said.