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Wed, Jul 05, 2006

Two Lost As Bonanza Goes Down Near Montrose Airport

Investigators Checking Reports Of Engine Failure

A pilot who had just purchased a Beech Bonanza, and the flight instructor giving him lessons on flying it, were lost Monday morning when the plane crashed while attempting to land in Montrose, CO.

Officials identified the pilot as 61-year-old David Gibson. He was on a training flight with Larry Smalley, 65, when the Beech went down in a neighborhood adjoining the Montrose Regional Airport (KMTJ). The aircraft impacted a parked semi truck, sparking a fire.

NTSB Senior Investigator Arnold Scott told the Grand Junction Sentinel he will be checking into reports the plane's engine was not running when the plane went down.

"According to witnesses, they did not hear sounds coming from the airplane and saw little if any rotation of the propeller," he said. "So we will be looking at the engine."

No one on the ground was injured.

Montrose County Coroner Mark Young said Gibson was an experienced pilot, and regularly flew between Aspen and Telluride on business. Gibson had just purchased the A36TC Bonanza from a Kansas firm.

Gibson last checked in with Montrose air traffic control at 9:53 a.m. Monday, Young said, and the accident was called in at 10 am. Montrose Regional aviation director Scott Brownlee told the paper the aircraft (file photo of type, below) had been performing touch and goes in the pattern at KMTJ.

The accident is the first near the airport since the November 2004 takeoff accident involving a Challenger 601, that claimed the lives of three people... including the youngest son of NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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