Spencer, IA Private Plane Crash, Feb 1963


Spencer, Iowa (UPI) -- Three businessmen were kiilled today when a light plane clipped the top of a grove of trees and crashed and burned shortly after taking off from an airport.
The victims were tentatively identified as GLEN GILLET, 53, Corning, Iowa, the pilot; RAY NATION, SR., 40, Sioux Rapids, Iowa; and L. R. (LES) PAYANT, Athena, Ore.
County Medical Examiner Dr. L. F. Frink said all three were apparently killed instantly and their bodies were badly burned when flames virtually destroyed the light plane.
Witnesses said the wreckage was jumbled into a mass only about six feet square and was hardly distinguishable as a plane. Only a section of the tail and part of the fuselage did not burn.
NATION and GILLET were associated in Ranco Ferti Service, a fertilizer manufacturing firm at Sioux Rapids. PAYANT was a salesman for Far-More Distributing Co., Athena, Ore., a distributor handling the Ranco firm's products.
The three arose early today to set out on a business trip to Grand Junction, Colo., officials said. Moments after takeoff, the plane leap-frogged into a grove of trees and erupted into flames.
GILLET, who was piloting the plane, was manager of the Farmers Co-op Creamery at Corning, and one of the leading businessmen in the community.
The four-seat Beechcraft Bonanza plunged to earth after striking the trees, sliding several hundred feet before it skidded across a gravel road and smashed into an embankment.
The single-engine plane burst into flames after plowing into the embankment at the edge of the road about two miles west of Spencer which leads to the county fairgrounds.
Authorities said the plane had taken off from the Spencer airport just before the crash.
Airport officials said the plane arrived at Spencer Tuesday night and the occupants spent the night at a hotel before resuming their journey.
GILLET is survived by his widow and three young children DOUG, RANDY, and CINDY.
GILLET, who also was associated with the two men in the Sioux Rapids firm, was a past president of the Corning Chamber of Commerce, past member of the City Council and had been serving on the school board. He also had held prominent posts in state and national creamery associations.
NATION formerly managed the Farm Service Co-op at Corning.

Ames Daily Tribune Iowa 1963-02-13