The builder of the experimental aircraft that skidded across rush hour traffic on Rancho Drive near Texas Station Friday said he built the plane nearly two decades ago and wasn’t aware of who its current owner was.
Kenneth Hallbauer, of Redlands, Calif., said he built the Dragon Fly Mark II in the early 1990s and sold it to a Southern California man a few years later. He was unaware Saturday night the plane he built crashed in Las Vegas, and had no idea who Tang Yun Chieh was, the Las Vegas resident who now owns the plane.
Hallbauer said the aircraft must have crossed hands several times since he last possessed it.
"It crashed?" Hallbauer, a retired pharmacist asked. "That’s news to me. I’m glad nobody got seriously hurt. That’s always something you hope for."
Chieh could not be reached Saturday.
Nobody was seriously injured during the crash that occurred about 4:50 p.m. The experimental plane was in the process of making an emergency forced landing after taking off from the North Las Vegas airport.
The aircraft, traveling southeast, clipped the supports for a utility pole before skidding across six lanes of traffic on Rancho and coming to rest on the southbound side of the road.
Two people in the aircraft survived. The pilot was taken to University Medical Center for minor injuries, Las Vegas police said. A passenger was treated at the scene and released.
The plane’s debris landed on the sunroof of a Chevy Tahoe during the crash. The driver of the Tahoe also escaped injury.
Hallbauer said he spent at least 2,000 hours building the plane and flew it for at least 50 hours without any incidents.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the plane experienced engine failure before going down.
Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas @reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638.Video