Arizona Plane Crash Kills Pilot

Thursday, December 20, 2012
By George Hatcher

On December 18, 2012, a pilot had been en route when he encountered unfavorable weather conditions around Payson, and diverted to Phoenix.

He was flying at night and the Ameriflight Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain crashed in mountainous terrain in the Mazatzal Wilderness, Arizona.

ATC lost contact with the pilot 50 miles northeast of Phoenix.

The pilot has been tentatively identified as David Kappes. After a Tuesday evening search was cancelled by snowy weather, a Public Safety helicopter located the wreckage on a mountainside northwest of the Barnhardt Trailhead, at about 7,000 feet 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Sheriffs who were dropped off hiked up to the site and located the remains.

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