Posted: Jun 25, 2013 7:17 AM by Lindsey Gordon
The man killed in a plane crash Monday afternoon has been identified as 51-year-old Leonard Coyle of Helena.
According to the Lewis & Clark Coroner, Coyle leaves behind a wife and two young children.
Lewis & Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said Coyle was flying an A36 Beechcraft Bonanza that was rented from Vetter Aviation in Helena.
The call about a downed plane off Glass Drive in the North Hills came in from an eyewitness around 12:12 p.m. Monday.
Don Heide was working nearby. He said he heard a change in the aircraft's engine and realized the plane was going down.
"I knew it wasn't good and it went down behind the trees after about five spins and then from there I head a slight 'kaboom' that definitely sounded like a crash three seconds after that," said Heide.
Sheriff Dutton did say that Coyle was qualified to be flying, but did not have an answer as to the extent of his experience.
"A maneuver that was described is often done in the north practice area, this is called the north practice area. What caused it? There can be intentional spins and it can be inadvertent spins. How that maneuver was entered, we may never know," said Dutoon.
The Sheriff's Office and other agencies intend to continue investigations on site; Dutton said, "We'll probably be here two days. The NTSB will be here and we'll keep the scene secure for as long as they need. We've already assisted them with tagging evidence and taking GPS readings of that evidence, where it's at and they'll try to reconstruct the accident as much as possible."
The FAA is conducting an investigation and it'll be about three to six months before they determine any cause for this crash.