Pilot of plane that crashed near Steamboat may have local ties
August 28, 2012
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – Authorities on Monday identified the deceased pilot and sole occupant of a plane that crashed near Steamboat Springs sometime Friday or Saturday as Peter Nicholas Landherr, 36, of Colorado and Minnesota.
National Transportation Safety Board investigator Jennifer Rodi said Landherr may have been in Glenwood Springs last week to have maintenance work done on the single-engine 1963 Piper PA24.
Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg said Monday that Landherr was living in Glenwood Springs, and may have been flying from Glenwood Springs to his hometown in Minnesota.
Rodi, however, said Landherr lived in Colorado but not in Glenwood Springs. He is listed in the Grand County Assessor’s property database as the co-owner of a two-bedroom home in Grand Lake.
Rodi said the plane is believed to have crashed between 4 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m Saturday. It was discovered on a two-track dirt road by a sheep herder at 10 a.m. Saturday in rural Routt County, northwest of Steamboat Springs.
Someone was last in the area of the crash site at 4 p.m. Friday and did not see the plane there, Rodi said.
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Investigators are working to find any witnesses who may have seen or heard the plane flying in the area.
Rodi said the plane exhibited signs of vertical crushing from the bottom up and appeared to have a “relatively flat” impact angle. She said the aircraft was not equipped with a black box or voice recorder, but investigators did recover a handheld GPS unit that is being examined.
She said the pilot did not file a flight plan and was not in communication with air traffic controllers.
“It’s very normal for an airplane not to have a flight plan,” Rodi said.
An autopsy was conducted on Monday, but results weren’t available as of press time.
The plane is registered to a company in Michigan, but Rodi said the single-engine aircraft recently was sold and that FAA records don’t reflect the change in ownership.
Rodi said the plane will be recovered Monday and Tuesday and then taken to a storage facility in Greeley. She said the NTSB hopes to release the preliminary crash report by Friday.
Ryg said Landherr is survived by four children.