Steve Appleton, 1960 - 2012
- "I'm very fortunate, lucky to be able to experience the kinds of things that I do. If my life were to end tomorrow, I've had a full life."
BOISE -- Micron CEO Steve Appleton was killed in a fiery plane crash Friday morning at the Boise Airport.
His experimental fixed wing single engine Lancair crashed at 8:56 a.m. in between two runways at the airport. He was the only person on-board.
The National Transportation Safety Board said they interviewed witnesses on the scene who said Appleton tried to take off once, landed and then went back to his hangar. About five minutes later, he tried to take off again. They say the plane was flying at about 100 to 200 feet above ground when it stalled, then nosedived.
A chilling recording from the air traffic controller tower paints the picture of panic shortly after take-off.
In the recording, you can hear Appleton telling controllers he needed to turn around moments before the crash.
"I'd like to turn back in... and land. Coming back in," Appleton said to air traffic controllers.
In the background of the audio from the control tower, a woman's voice can be heard saying, "Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god."
(KTVB has chosen not to publish this audio due to the sensitive nature of its contents.)
In a news conference held by the NTSB, Air Safety Investigator Zoe Keliher said they found several personal belongings in the wreckage, one of those things being Steve Appleton's wallet. They will be reviewing security footage, audio, and photos to help determine what caused the plane to crash.
Appleton has owned more than 20 airplanes and is known for doing aerobatics. He crashed in July of 2004 while performing maneuvers over the Idaho desert.
In an interview with Appleton after that crash, he said he suffered a few scrapes and scratches.
"I was only in the hospital one night and then I went home and showed up for work Monday morning," said Appleton about the crash. "I've been flying since then and everything's back to normal."
That crash left some wondering if the CEO was taking too many risks, considering he is head of a major corporation.
"My description of myself, whether I'm the CEO of a very competitive industry or whether I happen to fly aerobatics in airplanes, it's all one package. I mean, it's the personality that comes through in my business and my personal life."
Carolyn Holly spoke with Appleton in 2004 about his flying, Appleton said he is very fortunate for the things he has been able to do.
"I'm very fortunate, lucky to be able to experience the kinds of things that I do," Appleton said. "If my life were to end tomorrow, I've had a full life."
He started at Micron Technology in 1983 and served in various positions before becoming CEO in 1994.
Micron released the following statement:
"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."
Appleton graduated from Boise State University with a BA in Business Management.
Steve Appleton was 51-years-old and leaves behind a wife and four children.