Investigators are beginning their work to piece together what caused a single-engine plane carrying a Fort Collins family of four to crash near Glenwood Springs.

Jeff Makepeace, his wife, Jennifer and their two children, Addison and Benjamin did not survive the crash.

The family took off in a Cirrus SR22 from Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport sometime Friday evening headed to Moab, Utah.

Radar from Friday night showed thunderstorms from Fort Collins all the way to Glenwood Springs. Contact with the plane was lost around 8:00 p.m.

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“The weather Friday night especially over the mountains was not conducive to what we call VFR flying or visual flight rules,” said 9NEWS aviation analyst, Greg Feith.

Feith said the weather is one of several factors investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board would consider.

“Investigators are going to have to track down all the facets or pieces of the aircraft and the component parts, try to account for all of those to ensure that there was no evidence of mechanical malfunction or failure,” Feith explained.

Feith said investigators would also look into the pilot’s flying experience. FAA records show Jeff Makepeace obtained his pilot certificate on March 1, 2017.

“Why did they have to leave at 8:00 o’clock Friday night, single engine aircraft over the Rocky Mountains?” Feith said. “Because those combination of factors is really a prescription for disaster, especially if you have inexperienced pilots.”


The single-engine plane crashed about ten miles north of Glenwood Springs. First responders were not able to locate the wreckage until shortly before 11:30 Saturday morning.

Investigators from the NTSB and Federal Aviation Administration were expected to be on the ground Sunday. Feith said it was likely representatives from Cirrus and the plane’s engine manufacturer would be at the scene as well.