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Steve Appleton

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Fire crews are investigating a small plane crash at the Boise Airport that resulted in the death of Micron CEO Steve Appleton around 9 a.m. Friday.

Appleton was the only person in the plane, according to Boise Airport reports and Micron reports. A news conference is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Appleton was 51.

"We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Appleton, Micron Chairman and CEO, passed away this morning in a small plane accident in Boise," the company's board of directors said in a news release. "Our hearts go out to his wife, Dalynn, his children and his family during this tragic time."

"Steve's passion and energy left an indelible mark on Micron, the Idaho community and the technology industry at large."

All flags were half mast at the Micron campus in Boise Friday morning. Ada County dispatchers say reports came in of a small plane, with one person on board, on fire before it landed near an airport runway. The plane, a Lancair experimental aircraft, went down between two runways. The Lancair is a single-engine prop plane.

Information on what happened is not yet available, but fire crews did have to extinguish the wreckage. The airport is still open and planes are still able to use a different runway to take off and land, officials say. National Transportation Safety Board officials are at the crash site.

Friday’s crash was Appleton’s second such accident since 2004, when he crashed a high-performance aerobatic plane in the desert south of Boise. That crash occurred on July 8, 2004. Witnesses said Appleton and passenger Michael Duffy crawled from the wreckage of that plane after the crash. Appleton was flown by helicopter to a hospital. Federal officials later concluded that "pilot error" was the cause of the 2004 plane crash. The National Transportation Safety Board ruled that Appleton failed "to maintain clearance with terrain during descent while conducting an aerobatic maneuver." Check back at Idahostatesman.com later for updates.

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Published in Idaho Statesman on Feb. 3, 2012
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