Updated: 6:15 p.m. | Posted: 1:54 p.m.
Friends are remembering two central Minnesotans who perished in a plane crash in Florida.
Daryl Ingalsbe, a businessman and experienced pilot, and Deb Solsrud of New London were killed when Ingalsbe's experimental aircraft went down Tuesday while they were trying to land.
Ingalsbe's plane was approaching the Spruce Creek airport near his Florida home in the fog when Federal Aviation investigators say it appears the plane missed its first approach. Investigators have not said if weather contributed to the crash.
A 911 call to the Volusia County Sheriff's office describes the aircraft dropping through the clouds and crashing in the front lawn of a home along the runway. "Airplane just crashed. He was in the fog," a caller said. "He was in an inverted flat spin when he came out of the fog."
Officials at Independent Technologies in Spicer, Minn., confirmed Ingalsbe, their CEO, and Solsrud were both killed in the crash.
They were flying an experimental Epic LT aircraft. Eric Rudningen, who supervises operations at the Willmar airport, said Ingalsbe flew in and out hundreds of times over the last few years, and usually found time to talk about his plane.
"Certainly I talked to Daryl a lot about what improvements they were making on the airplane," Rudningen said. "It's just an amazing piece of equipment."
Before the crash, it was capable of carrying six people to 34,000 feet in just 15 minutes. Ingalsbe was very proud of it, Rudningen said.
"It's always very difficult when we lose a member of the airport community," he said, "and that's really what it is."
Ingalsbe's company manufactures phone line testing equipment among other things. He often flew between homes in Nebraska, Spicer and Florida.
This summer he took his plane around the world, covering 16,000 miles in just 21 days. Ingalsbe took Solsrud along, and according to J.P. Cola, she called it the trip of a lifetime. "She Facebooked me that she was in Moscow and I actually had her get me a Vladimir Putin T-shirt that she got from a vendor at Red Square."
Cola, who met Solsrud 20 years ago when they both worked at a radio station in Willmar, said she was deeply involved in the community and helped bring iPads to New London-Spicer Schools.
"It's just hard to believe she's gone. She was just such a force of nature," he said. "You know, blonde hair, big smile. Everyone liked Deb."
Spruce Creek airport serves a community built for aircraft enthusiasts. About 300 homes have airplane hangers in their backyards. People land at the airstrip and taxi right up to their houses.
Robert Beziat said the fatal crash is difficult for the tight community of pilots to take.
"Daryl was definitely an experienced pilot," said Beziat, who lived across the street from Ingalsbe, "and knew his airplane. It's just unfortunate."