Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Curtiss Wright Travel Air 4000, N6464: Fatal accident occurred March 02, 2016 in Palmer Lake, El Paso County, Colorado

http://registry.faa.gov/N6464

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA116
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 02, 2016 in Palmer Lake, CO
Aircraft: CURTISS WRIGHT TRAVEL AIR 4000, registration: N6464
Injuries: 2 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 March 2, 2016, about 0800 mountain standard time, a Curtis Wright, Travel Air 4000 airplane, N6464, was destroyed when it impacted the ground following an apparent loss of control near Palmer Lake, Colorado. A postimpact fire ensued. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The aircraft was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14
Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Vance Brand Airport, near Longmont, Colorado, about 0715.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Denver FSDO-03

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.



A picture of Dan Murray flying his popular red plane. Friends said this is how they will remember Murray, who died in a plane crash Wednesday. 


EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. -  The El Paso County Coroner's Office Monday identified the two people killed in a plane crash in Palmer Lake.

The pilot is Daniel Murray, 77, of Longmont. The passenger is 60-year-old Jeff Caplitz, according to the coroner's office. 

A Facebook group for the Longmont airport sent a pictures of Murray flying his well known red plane. The group said Murray is known as the face of the Longmont airport because his plane is featured on its website.

The FAA and the NTSB are investigating the cause. Investigators say wind could have played a role in the crash.


Daniel Murray, checking to see if the wings of a 1928 TravelAir biplane are in alignment in June 2012 at his hangar at the Vance Brand Municipal Airport.



A Longmont-based pilot died Wednesday when his antique plane crashed near Palmer Lake in El Paso County, sources confirmed.

The Denver Post reported on Wednesday that a Curtiss Wright Travel Air 4000 crashed Wednesday morning under unknown circumstances, and that two people were on board.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, Daniel Murray was listed as the owner of the same model aircraft, a vintage 1928 model. The identity and condition of the other passenger is unknown.

Howard Morgan, president of the Hangar Owners Association at Vance Brand Municipal Airport, confirmed Friday that Murray died in the plane crash on his way to an antique airplay fly-in.

Morgan said Murray had recently turned 76 years old and was well-known in Longmont and at Vance Brand.

"He was a great mechanic, great machinist. He helped a lot of people around the airport with mechanical stuff," Morgan said.

Vance Brand Municipal Airport Manager said Murray would be deeply missed.

"I think he touched a lot of lives at this airport. He had a lot of knowledge about many things and he was a great pilot," Slayter said. "We're very saddened by his loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."

Murray was well-known for showing off his unique vintage plane. Vintage Airplane Magazine recently profiled and photographed Murray and his TravelAir for their February/March issue. A 2001 article from The Times-Call quotes Murray recounting his career in Hollywood.

"Murray's company, Task Research, helped build Voyager, the airplane that flew nonstop around the world. He also build the airplane used at Disney World in the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular. The DeLorian cars at Universal Studios' 'Back to the Future' ride are his creations too. So are the Earthquake trains at Universal," the 2001 article said.

Murray used to fly planes or appear as an extra in movies, including "Amelia Earhart: The Untold Story" (1993) and "Amelia Earnhart - The Final Flight" (1994). During his time in Hollywood, Murray rubbed elbows with Kurt Russel, Gene Hackman, Steve McQueen, Tom Cruise, Jay Leno, Cliff Robertson, Shari Belafonte and Matt Jeffries, who designed the Enterprise for "Star Trek" and did work on "Little House on the Prairie," according to the 2001 article.

In 2009, Murray carted his plane from the airport to Main Street, to display it at the Festival on Main.

Brigette Rodriguez, who began volunteering for the airport in 2002, said Murray and his TravelAir plane have long been the face of the Longmont airport.

"He and his plane meant so much to the tight-knight Longmont airport community and the airport really won't be the same without him. There's a long list of Dan's contributions to the city of Longmont. Talk to pretty much any pilot at the airport and they all knew him personally," Rodriguez said via an online interview. "Many people who weren't flyers seemed to gravitate to his shiny red plane and have photos next to it."

Rodriguez said Murray used his plane to take Longmont mayors and other visiting dignitaries from Longmont's Mexican sister city, Ciudad Guzman, for rides.

"I know that he was big on giving and sharing in that way," Slayter said.

Original article can be found here: http://www.timescall.com



Two people were killed in a fiery plane crash in Palmer Lake Wednesday morning.

It will take several days to identify the crash victims, the El Paso County Coroner's Office said Wednesday.

Authorities are investigating the single-engine plane's crash into a field in the northern El Paso County community, Allen Kenitzer said local authorities told him. Kenitzer is the public information officer for the Northwestern Mountain Region of the Federal Aviation Administration.

The plane's make, model and registration is unknown, but it has been identified as a red biplane, according to Eric Weiss, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board.

NTSB is the lead investigating agency, with the help of FAA, and will be working to fill in the gaps surrounding the crash, like where the plane was coming from or heading to, who was inside and what caused the plane to crash, Weiss said. The agency currently could not answer those questions, he said.

"We'll use GPS, iPhones, anything to paint an electronic portrait of the last moments of the flight," Weiss said, confirming two fatalities.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office also has been involved in investigating the crash, but has not released any information, save for a single tweet acknowledging the crash.

The crash happened around 8 a.m., according to Weiss.

Pictures of the crash circulating on social media showed it occurred in a field near a residential community. It also sparked a small grass fire, which some media have reported has been extinguished. A Palmer Lake Fire Department captain said he could not release any information about the crash, including if the grass fire was out.

Soon after the crash, the U.S. Air Force Academy, which sits south of Palmer Lake, confirmed it was not one of their planes, a spokeswoman said. Winds played a factor in the academy deciding not to fly Wednesday, the spokeswoman said.

According to the National Weather Service in Pueblo, winds were expected to be between 15 and 30 mph throughout most of El Paso County. A red flag warning advised about fire danger, but part of the danger is "strong winds," the service said.

The warning remains in effect until 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District assisted on scene, but could not comment.

No other details were immediately available.

Original article can be found here: http://gazette.com

Investigators look over the scene of a small plane crash near Palmer Lake, Colorado on Wednesday, March 2, 2016. Two people were onboard the single-engine plane when it crashed into a field. The El Paso County Sheriff's Office and Palmer Lake Police Department responded to a plane crash around 8:22 a.m.



Authorities are investigating a fiery plane crash in Palmer Lake Wednesday morning.

Two people were onboard the single-engine plane when it crashed into a field in the northern El Paso County community, Allen Kenitzer said local authorities told him. Kenitzer is the public information officer for the Northwestern Mountain Region of the Federal Aviation Administration. 

The plane's make, model and registration is unknown, but it has been identified as a red biplane, according to Eric Weiss, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board.

NTSB is the lead investigating agency, with the help of FAA, and will be working to fill in the gaps surrounding the crash, like where the plane was coming from or heading to, who was inside and what caused the plane to crash, Weiss said. The agency currently could not answer those questions, he said.

"We'll use GPS, iPhones, anything to paint an electronic portrait of the last moments of the flight," Weiss said, confirming two fatalities.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office also has been involved in investigating the crash, but has not released any information, save for a single tweet acknowledging the crash.

The crash happened around 8 a.m., according to Weiss.

Pictures of the crash circulating on social media showed it occurred in a field near a residential community. It also sparked a small grass fire, which some media have reported has been extinguished. A Palmer Lake Fire Department captain said he could not release any information about the crash, including if the grass fire was out.

Soon after the crash, the U.S. Air Force Academy, which sits south of Palmer Lake, confirmed it was not one of their planes, a spokeswoman said. Winds played a factor in the academy deciding not to fly Wednesday, the spokeswoman said.

According to the National Weather Service out of Pueblo, winds were expected to be between 15 and 30 mph throughout most of El Paso County. A red flag warning advised about fire danger, but part of the danger is "strong winds," the service said.

Gusts could reach up to 40 mph, the service said. The warning remains in effect until 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District assisted on scene, but could not comment.

Original article can be found here:  http://coloradosprings.com



It sounded like a truck breaking, a witness told 11 News after a plane crashed within sight of her living room.

Audrey Kimsey said she ran to her window and saw a small aircraft engulfed in flames. She described the crash site as being just off Highway 105 near the south side of Palmer Lake, close to the railroad tracks.

"I was sleeping," witness Mary Martindale told 11 News. "I was in bed and I heard the crash...I ran to the deck and I saw it engulfed in flames. I called 911. ... It got into flames so quickly. It was really loud...I thought the train had derailed."

Martindale was one of many who called for help.

"At approximately 8:01 a.m., the El Paso County Sheriff's Office communications center started receiving 911 telephone callsreferencing the crash of a small aircraft," EPSO Sgt. Shane Mitchell said.

By the time emergency crews got on scene, flames had spread to surrounding grass.

"Once it engulfed in flames, it was so windy all the grass right there caught on fire. I was so glad the wind was going in the opposite direction, 'cuz I think it could have taken out some homes too," Martindale said.

The fire burned about a quarter of an acre before firefighters got it out. Mitchell credited the quick response for keeping the fire from spreading further.

"Anywhere from five to potentially eight different agencies with different activities that they perform...arrived in the area. The response time was very, very quick and that’s what most likely what saved this fire from spreading any further than what it did.

"We've had high wind warnings in the area along with fire alerts for the last several days because of the wind blowing in the area...along with the dry fuels that are in the area.

"The Palmer Lake Fire Department did an excellent job getting to the scene quickly and extinguishing that fire before it became a threat to any civilians or any residents."

Mitchell said the plane was nearly obliterated in the fire, leaving authorities unable to identify the plane or anything about victims.

"The plane is a complete loss due to the fire. We are unable to identify a tail number and whether there were any victims or how many victims there might be."

The Air Force Academy tells 11 News it was not one of their aircraft.

Though he couldn't comment on the victims, Mitchell confirmed the county coroner's office had been called to the scene.

Kimsey and Mitchell both commented on how the tragedy could have been even worse: the plane crashed in a highly residential area, just a few hundreds yards from the crash site.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be investigating the crash. It's too early to know what caused the crash, but several eyewitnesses stated that the pilot appeared to lose control just before it went down. Kimsey said from her vantage point, the pilot looked like he or she was trying to land on a trail.

Original article can be found here: http://www.kktv.com 




PALMER LAKE, Colo. -- A single-engine plane crashed and burst into flames near Palmer Lake on Wednesday morning, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office said.

The plane went down just after 8 a.m. near homes on the south side of the lake, witnesses said. A small grass fire started, but firefighters were able to extinguish it.

Authorities said they are unable to identify the tail number or whether there are any victims because there is little left of the plane.

Police in Palmer Lake are handling the crash and the sheriff's office is assisting.

Original article can be found here: http://kdvr.com





EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. -    A small airplane crashed on the southeast side of Palmer Lake Wednesday morning. It's unknown if anyone survived.

"The plane is a complete loss due to the fire. We are unable to identify a tail number and or whether or not there were any victims," said Sgt. Mitchell with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

The plane went down south of the railroad tracks that run through the northwestern El Paso County town.

The plane burst into flames after the crash. The fire spread into nearby grass, but firefighters were able to contain it. The fire burned less than a quarter of an acre.

"The Palmer Lake Fire Department did an excellent job getting to the scene quickly and extinguishing the fire before it became a threat to any civilians," said Mitchell.

The FAA and the NTSB are investigating the cause. Investigators say wind could have played a role in the crash.

"We've had high wind warnings in the area along with fire alerts for the last several days," said Mitchell.

Roger Moseley, a Palmer Lake resident and former Air Force test pilot saw the crash.

"I assume it was a loss of control due to turbulence or some other issue like an engine failure or even a medical issue. It's just a very unusual place to impact the ground," said Moseley.

Moseley says errors are common on windy days.

"There was a lot of wind out of the north and coming across the mountains through this path that would be quite turbulent. So if the pilot was trying to sneak over that low spot, that could have been a problem," said Moseley.

Mosely says even if the pilot was experienced, it may not have been avoidable.

"It's amazing how you can get trapped, even an experienced pilot or someone like me used to flying high performance airplanes, you can make some very tragic errors," said Mosely.



Original article can be found here: http://www.krdo.com
 















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