Plane of missing pilot found near Sierra Nevada lake |

Plane of missing pilot found near Sierra Nevada lake

F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer
photo courtesy of airventure.deSteve Brown's "Tonopah Low," No. 00 biplane flies during the 2004 Reno Air Races.

Wreckage of an airplane believed to be that of missing pilot Steve Brown, 51, of Reno, has been found near Marlette Lake.

An investigation is underway by Washoe County Sheriff’s search and rescue crews and the Nevada State Parks.

Brown was last seen Tuesday about 3:30 p.m. at the Carson City Airport when he allegedly told people he planned to fly along the river. The casual flight wasn’t expected to take long, said Undersheriff Steve Albertsen.

Crews stopped their search about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, but resumed this morning.

Surrounding airports were also contacted and none reported the aircraft, a Pitts S-1 aerobatics biplane, on their tarmacs.

The missing plane is black with yellow trim and the words “Tonopah Low” and the numbers “00” along the side. Carson City Sheriff’s Lt. Ray Saylo said the wingspan is about 12 feet, and the engine has been described as sounding like a chain saw.

“It’s a very small, very fast, very loud plane,” he said.

An American Airline pilot, Brown not only flew as a career but as a hobby, said Carson City Sheriff’ Kenny Furlong. Brown took to the skies in the Pitts S-1 in air shows since 1990 ” a list of the Pitts’ accomplishments is chronicled on the aircraft’s right side. In 2002, the “Tonopah Low” appeared on a commemorative coin issued by the Reno Air Race.

Search and Rescue Thursday afternoon staged a command post at Spooner Summit, 11 miles south of Incline Village. Marlette is located at the peak of the Flume Trail, four miles southeast of Incline.

Information will be updated as more is learned.