A small experimental plane piloted by the chief executive and chairman of Micron Technology crashed after take-off today at the Boise airport, killing the head of the memory chip company. Steve Appleton, a stunt pilot who survived a similar crash in 2004, was 51. Micron is one of many companies that make semiconductor chips for various devices, including computers, mobile devices, cameras, cars, and industrial systems. It makes products under the Lexar and Crucial brands.
Witnesses reported the plane got to only 100 or 200 feet in the air before it steeply banked or rolled, appeared to stall, and crashed. Appleton, a former motocross racer, was the only person aboard. Ada County dispatch received reports of a plane that was on fire before it landed, and the airport identified the aircraft as a fixed-wing prop plane Lancair, which is built from kits. Planes like the Lancair have caught the attention of the National Transportation Safety Board, which is in the midst of a study of their safety. (Read more Steve Appleton stories.)