Arizona entrepreneur, son killed in plane crash in Colorado

Jeff Morhetby Ken Alltucker - Jul. 23, 2012 08:41 PM
The Republic |

An Arizona biotechnology entrepreneur and his 12-year-old son died Saturday when a small plane crashed in southern Colorado.

Jeff Morhet, 43, and son Jack Morhet, both died when the small plane crashed on Saturday after an attempted landing near the Spanish Peaks Airfield north of Walsenburg, Colo., the Pueblo Chieftain reported.

The Morhets were the only passengers on the Nanchang CJ-6A aircraft when it crashed about a half-mile west of the airport, according to Federal Aviation Administration Spokesman Allen Kenitzer and Huerfano County, Colo., officials.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating details of the crash.                     Jeff Morhet

Photo: Charlie Leight/The Republic

The aircraft sought to land at the Spanish Peaks Airfield general aviation airport, possibly to refuel. The Morhets planned to fly from Colorado to the 2012 EAA AirVenture air show in Oshkosh, Wis., according to the Chieftain.

The annual air show, which will run through Sunday, has more than 10,000 aircraft anticipated for the event. About 2,500 aircraft are considered show planes that are judged in 11 different categories, according to event spokesman Dick Knapinski.

Knapinski said he did not know whether Morhet planned to enter his aircraft in the annual event, but he said the Nanchang CJ-6A is the type of aircraft that may qualify for the air show's "Warbirds" category for military-style aircraft.

Records show the 1973 Nanchang aircraft was registered to a Baseline Road address in Mesa.

The aircraft had an "experimental" airworthiness certificate and its approved operations were for exhibition purposes, according to the aircraft's registration.

The Arizona Technology Council, the state Department of Commerce and then-Gov. Janet Napolitano named Morhet the Ed Denison Business Arizona Leader of the Year in 2008 for his work in the Arizona biotech community and as CEO of InNexus Biotechnology, an early-stage company. More recently, Morhet launched a new life-sciences company, Diomics Corp., with offices in La Jolla, Calif., and Chandler.

Morhet was paid by Chandler to help advise, review and launch the the city's Innovations technology incubator.

The lab has attracted a number of technology and early-stage research companies.

Chandler Economic Development Director Christine Mackay said that Morhet "did a tremendous job for the city. ... I am so sorry for his family."

Mackay said that Morhet had four children with his wife, Deirdre Morhet, who could not be reached for comment.

Leaders of Arizona's biotechnology industry said that Morhet was an important member of the community.


Memorial & Missing man flight for Jeff Morhet

August 4, 2012



Photo Gallery

Hello everyone.

I am Bob Myers and I am Gill's back-seater and These are the photos I got of the memorial.

Sorry I didn't get any of the missing man formation.

If you have any photos you would like to share send them to me at