West Valley Plane Crash Kills 2

Small experimental aircraft crashed into field northwest of Kalispell Saturday morning, killing both local occupants

By Beacon Staff
Airplanes outside Red Eagle Aviation at the Kalispell City Airport Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

A single-engine amateur-built Bearhawk airplane crashed into a field northwest of Kalispell on April 30 due to unknown circumstances, killing both occupants on board, according to local authorities and information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The Saturday morning crash occurred on West Valley farmland near Church Drive and West Valley Drive and drew numerous emergency responders from multiple agencies. The crash was first reported by a resident around 9 a.m., according to Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino.

The circumstances surrounding the crash remain under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Heino’s department is charged with determining the cause and manner of the deaths of the aircraft’s two occupants — a man and a woman the sheriff says resided in the Flathead Valley.

Although Heino on Monday afternoon declined to release the victims’ names until he confirms their identifications, the single-engine, amateur-built Bearhawk LSA aircraft is registered with the FAA to Joe D. Angle, a local flight instructor and a member of the Montana Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 102.

According to messages posted to an online message board for experimental aircraft enthusiasts, Angle was the pilot and builder of the aircraft and was flying from Kalispell to Eureka, a distance of about 90 miles. The bright-yellow aircraft disappeared from Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast about nine miles after takeoff, according to one post, whose author says he knew Angle.

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