A World War II fighter plane crashed near the Durango-La Plata County Airport in southwest Colorado on Friday killing 2.
Sources confirmed the victims were John Earley, the plane’s owner, and his flying instructor, Michael Schlarb. Both men were in their 50s.
Plane owner John Earley is shown above with the P-51 that crashed.
The aircraft belonged to Earley, a local resident and CEO of Saddle Butte Pipeline LLC in Durango.
Before this crash, there were only 123 P-51 Mustangs in the United States, including Earley’s, according to the Federal Aviation Administration registry.
Most P-51 Mustang’s were built as single seater planes. However there were many trainer two-seat variants of the P-51 and others were converted for specific purposes.