NTSB Releases Initial Report on Micron CEO Crash

Preliminary review provides ATC communications, but cause still unclear.

The NTSB has released a preliminary report on the Lancair IV-P crash that killed the CEO of Micron Technology Steve Appleton earlier this month, although the initial review leaves many questions about the fatal accident unanswered.

According to the NTSB, witnesses saw the homebuilt attempt to take off from Runway 10R at Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho, only to climb approximately 5 to 10 feet and then touch back down. The Lancair then took off again from 10R, after which it climbed to 100 to 200 feet, banked steeply to the left and rapidly lost altitude.

According to communications between the pilot and ATC, Appleton reportedly told ATC after he was initially cleared for takeoff on 10R that “we’re going to land here and stop…we’ve got a problem.” Seven minutes after telling the controller he was going to taxi back to examine the issue, he said he was ready to depart and wanted to stay in the traffic pattern. In his last transmission, he said that he would “like to turn back in and…um…landing…coming back in.”

The aircraft completed one revolution before it impacted the ground, scattering wreckage as far as 80 feet.

The Lancair IV-P Appleton was flying was a pressurized four-seater outfitted with a turboprop engine, according to the FAA. Appleton was an ATP rated and accomplished aerobatic pilot.