Hood River pilot dies in Montana crash

A Hood River pilot was killed when his small airplane lost power and crashed Tuesday in Montana.

The last transmission from Jeffrey Bunch, 42, to the Gallatin Field air traffic controllers was that he was experiencing power failure. According to reports, Airport Director Ted Mathis then asked Bunch if he was going to declare an emergency and was told, “I don’t know.” Moments later, the private plane crashed into a wheat field about 10 miles northwest of Bozeman.

A witness to the wreck said the craft flew in low over a wheat field about three miles southeast of the airport and then turned upside down before hitting the ground about 4:30 p.m. It exploded upon impact, sending up flames and black smoke. Bunch was pronounced dead at the scene.

His flight plan showed that he had taken off from an airport near Minneapolis, Minn., on Nov. 5 and was scheduled to land at Bozeman.

The single-engine plane that Bunch was flying was a Lancair IV that is sold as a kit and assembled by the buyer.

The Federal Aviation Administration is conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the crash.

Bunch made his home in Hood River with wife, Patricia, and their infant son. He was president of LVS Capital Management in Hood River.

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A memorial service for Jeffrey Bunch will be at 11 a.m. on Nov. 16 at Columbia Gorge Hotel.

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