Pilot in crash near Steamboat identified as Glenwood Springs man
Investigators still working to determine where plane came from, where it was headed
August 27, 2012
Steamboat Springs — Family members think Peter Nicholas Landherr was flying from Glenwood Springs back to his hometown in Minnesota when his single-engine plane crashed north of Milner sometime between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.
Landherr, 36, was identified Monday morning as the lone victim of the deadly crash.
A National Transportation Safety Board spokeswoman said Monday that investigators had established an approximate timeline for the crash. But because Landherr hadn't filed a flight plan, they were having a difficult time confirming where the flight originated and where he was headed.
Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg said Landherr’s family thinks he was flying from Glenwood Springs, where he was living recently, back to Minnesota. Ryg said Landherr also owned a home in Grand Lake and most recently worked in construction.
However, an online obituary for Landherr said he recently was living in Steamboat and originally is from Walnut Grove, Minn. The obituary posted by Brick-Meger Funeral Home, of Owatonna, Minn., states Landherr graduated from Owatonna High School in 1995. Arrangements are pending.
NTSB investigator Jennifer Rodi said the plane discovered by a sheep herder Saturday morning in rural Routt County is thought to have crashed between 4 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m Saturday.
Rodi said someone was in the area of the crash site at 4 p.m. Friday and did not see the plane there. She said the plane and Landherr, who was the sole occupant of the aircraft, were found at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Investigators are continuing to seek out witnesses who may have seen or heard the plane flying in the area.
Rodi said the plane, a 1963 Piper PA24, 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 Landherr 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.
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 would be recovered by Tuesday and 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.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com