This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A preliminary report reveals why a pilot had to make an emergency landing in Utah County last month and further confirms that he clipped power lines before crashing and killing his passenger.
Nicholas Soter, 66, of South Jordan, had just called in a "May Day" to the Spanish Fork Municipal Airport tower, reporting fire in the cockpit. Examination of the airplane revealed that an electrical system installed to provide power for the radar and test equipment had overheated and began to burn, according to the National Transportation Safety Board report released Monday.
Soter, working for a company that maps the ground with radar, had clipped power lines during an attempted emergency landing on U.S. 89 near the Utah-Sanpete county line, the report adds.
His single-engine Cessna 172 Skyhawk flipped when it hit the lines and crashed upside down in a field near the tiny town of Birdseye. His passenger, Gerald Wilson, 50, of South Jordan, died at the scene.
The crash was being investigated jointly by the NTSB, which is leading the probe, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration and the Utah County Sheriff's Office.
A disclaimer at the top of the report explains that the information is subject to change and may contain errors, since the report is only preliminary.