Reduction in engine power and Micron CEO's ill-fated decision blamed for deadly plane crash

IndustriesAssociated Press

Federal investigators say the likely causes of an airplane crash that killed Micron CEO Steve Appleton in 2012 are a reduction in engine power during takeoff and Appleton's ill-fated decision to turn around rather than make an emergency landing.

The National Transportation Safety Board in a report released Monday said fire damage made it impossible to know if the engine power reduction was mechanical or a decision by Appleton.

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The report says Appleton shouldn't have attempted a second takeoff with a "known problem" after aborting an earlier takeoff minutes earlier.

The 51-year-old Appleton was the only person aboard the four-seat Lancair on Feb. 3, 2012, when it steeply banked, stalled and crashed near a Boise, Idaho, runway.

Investigators say some engine readings before the crash indicate a problem with the airplane.