Western Colorado airport plane crash victim ID’d as Delta County man
GYPSUM — A Delta County man died Friday afternoon when his single-engine experimental plane crashed into the front of a hangar at the Eagle County Regional Airport.
Karl Hipp, 68, of Crawford, was pronounced dead at the scene, said Kara Bettis, Eagle County coroner.
Another person, a female, was injured and taken by ambulance to the Vail Valley Medical Center.
Hipp and the woman were the only two in the Rebel aircraft.
Hipp owned Balzout Aviation and operated out of an airport in Delta County. On his LinkedIn page, he lists his occupation as “airport bum.”
The FAA lists him as a commercial pilot certified to fly multi-engine aircraft.
He also owned and operated Karl Hipp Designs Rustic Lamps and manufactured rustic wrought iron table lamps, floor lamps, rawhide lamp shades, forged iron lamps, wall sconces and chandeliers.
Hipp is listed as a vice president with Comanche Flyer Foundation Inc. in Indiana.
Why he was flying to the Eagle County airport and what caused the crash remains under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.
The plane touched down on the runway in gusting winds at about 4:50 p.m. Friday.
Witnesses said after the plane touched down, it might have caught a gust of wind. It went into the air again, banked hard to the left and veered about 1,000 feet south of the runway, witnesses said.
It did not clear the Vail Valley Jet Center’s hangar No. 4 and hit just above the front doors, punching a large hole in the outside wall.
There was no one in the hangar at the time of the crash, witnesses said.
Witnesses said they could hear the plane’s engine struggle and stall, then stop completely when it hit.
Airport fire fighters and emergency personnel were on the scene in moments.
The runway at Eagle County Regional Airport has since reopened.
Eagle County Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting, Eagle County Paramedic Services, Eagle County Sheriff and Gypsum Fire District responded.
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Robert Shapiro was sentenced to the maximum 25 years in prison for running a $1.3 million real estate Ponzi scheme that claimed more than 7,000 victims.