Plane that crashed was experimental aircraft - East Valley Tribune: News

Plane that crashed was experimental aircraft

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Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2004 11:45 am | Updated: 6:14 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

The plane that crashed in Apache Junction last week, killing the pilot and his passenger, was an experimental aircraft built by the men and being taken up for its third test flight.

According to National Transportation Safety Board records, Chandler resident Michael Wray and his passenger were trying to get enough hours flying the turbine-powered plane for it to become certified.

Apache Junction police Sgt. Dick Virgil identified Wray's passenger as Laveen resident George Knapple.

Friends of the men told NTSB investigators the men took off from Falcon Field Airport in Mesa at 1:15 p.m. Feb. 17 and intended to practice touch-and-go landings at Williams Gateway Airport, 19 nautical miles from Falcon Field.

The plane crashed about 1:40 p.m. in Lost Dutchman State Park, five miles north of Apache Junction.

A commercial pilot who witnessed the crash said he saw the plane in a flat spin 2,000 feet above ground said and it spun three to four times before he lost sight of it. The plane was consumed by fire on impact.

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