Authorities ID pilot killed in Saturday plane crash

2013-04-07T16:30:00Z 2013-04-08T13:42:04Z Authorities ID pilot killed in Saturday plane crashBy ZACH BENOIT zbenoit@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Authorities have identified the pilot killed in a Saturday airplane crash in northern McCone County as Darin Ray Brown, 38, and are now working to figure out what happened.

The Roosevelt County Sheriff's Office confirmed Brown's death on Sunday morning.

Allen Kenitzer, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, said in an email that the National Transportation Safety Board is in charge of the investigation, with help from the FAA.

He expected investigators to arrive by early Monday and said they typically file a preliminary report within two weeks of an incident. A full report and probable-cause determination can take months to complete.

Brown flew a fixed-wing, single-engine Cessna 182 from a rural airstrip near Wolf Point at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday and planned to head toward Circle and then west to Coakley Road in the Acton area, 15 miles northwest of Billings.

He spoke to his wife, who was in Acton, between 10:45 and 11 a.m. and was never heard from again. Brown was scheduled to arrive in Acton at about 1:30 p.m. and was reported missing about an hour later.

Shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday, searchers found the wreckage of the plane in rural McCone County, according to a news release from the Roosevelt County Sheriff's Office.

The release did not say if a body had been recovered but did note that "Brown did not survive" the crash.

Kenitzer said that the plane crashed "under unknown circumstances."

According to the FAA, registration is pending for the Cessna at an address on Coakley Road in Acton. Due to the pending registration, the name of the plane's owner is not listed.

The McCone County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate as well but did not provide more details of the crash on Sunday.

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