Agency: Pilot didn’t contact airport before crash
December 22, 2010
DENVER – A small plane that crashed in the Colorado mountains, killing both people aboard, was preparing to land at a small airport but didn’t make voice contact with the tower, federal investigators said.
The twin-engine Beech B-60 crashed Dec. 15 about 80 miles west of Denver.
Eagle County officials identified the victims on Wednesday as Barton Harris, 67, of Brownwood, Texas, and Jerry Hoggatt, 73, of Pelham, Ala.
A preliminary report released this week by the National Transportation Safety Board said both men were pilots but did not say who was at the controls. The plane was registered to Bighawk Corp. of Brownwood.
The report did not identify the cause of the crash.
The plane had taken off from Pueblo and had been cleared by the Denver air traffic control center to land at Eagle County Regional Airport, the NTSB said.
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The Denver center instructed the pilot to contact the airport tower, but no contact was made, the report said.
The plane was descending and at an altitude of 11,200 feet when it disappeared from radar. Instrument flight rules were in effect, meaning visibility was limited and pilots had to rely on instruments.
The wreckage was found in rugged, snow-covered terrain at 10,600 feet. A fire broke out after the crash, the NTSB said.
The victims were the 18th and 19th people killed in plane crashes in Colorado this year, according to NTSB reports.
In the preceding five years, the number of airplane fatalities in Colorado ranged from seven to 38, with an average of 18.4 a year.