Dayton man pilot in fatal Vegas plane crash |

Dayton man pilot in fatal Vegas plane crash

by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer

A 76-year-old Dayton man was the pilot of a homemade aircraft that crashed into a house in North Las Vegas last week.

Mack C. Murphree Jr. was identified by the Clark County coroner on Monday as the pilot manning the Velocity 173RG that crashed into the home of Jack and Lucy Costa shortly after takeoff from the North Las Vegas Airport about 6:30 a.m. Friday.

The plane burst into flames upon impact and the Costas and Murphree were killed at the scene.

A woman who answered the phone at Murphree’s Dayton home Monday declined comment.

“It’s just too soon,” she said.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Elliott Simpson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the “experimental” single-engine aircraft with a rear propeller had logged five flight hours before it crashed Friday morning.

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“We’re investigating whether this aircraft had to have 40 flight hours to fly over populated areas while arriving at, or departing from, an airport,” Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor wrote in a statement to the media.

The rules on certifying and flying home-built experimental aircraft, such as the Velocity, are detailed in a 150-plus page Federal Aviation Administration document.

The aircraft was owned by Mike Killgore of Show Low, Ariz. His relationship with Murphree was not clear Monday.

Murphree was an original member of the Carson City Chapter of the National Experimental Aircraft Association. He’d been a member for 25 years, said EAA spokeswoman Sandy Goetze.

Goetze said Murphree owned his own Velocity which he housed at the airstrip in Dayton. She said he flew out of the Carson airport.

“He helped people that were building that kind of aircraft because he was so well versed in it. And he went around gratis and test flew other people’s (aircrafts).”

Murphree was active in the EAA’s Young Eagles, a program designed to encourage aviation among children.

“(Murphree) was just a magnificent, giving guy that would take the time for the young people,” said Carson Chapter Vice President David McLelland.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating in the crash.

” The Associated Press contributed to this report.

– Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.