Pilot killed in plane crash at Front Range Airport

Plane crash at Front Range Airport in Watkins, Colo. Nov. 21, 2012

Plane crash at Front Range Airport in Watkins, Colo. Nov. 21, 2012

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WATKINS, Colo. -- The pilot of a small plane was killed when the aircraft crashed at Front Range Airport in Adams County Wednesday.

Airport spokesman Dennis Heap said the plane exploded when it went down about 500 feet from a runway.

The pilot was identified as retired wing commander Brian North. He was a veteran British pilot and member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

Heap said the plane was practicing landing and take-offs called touch-and-gos when it crashed. The weather was good at the time, he said. "The tower got a call and it was garbled which would indicate there was maybe some electrical problem."

North, who was in his 70s, had been rebuilding his plane for years. It was a replica of a "Gypsy Moth," a model first built in the 1920s and flown during the two world wars.

Heap says North just started flying the plane about a month ago.

The cause of the crash won't be clear until the NTSB completes its investigation.

"A deep loss for his family, and our thoughts and prayers go out to them," Heap says. "But also a deep loss for the aviation community."

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