Mosquito XE285 co-designer identified as crash victim

John Uptigrove, co-designer of the Mosquito XE285 single-seat ultra-light helicopter, has been identified by friends as the pilot killed in a crash southeast of Calgary, Alberta.

John Uptigrove died in a helicopter crash near Calgary, Alberta, earlier this week, friends say. Kenneth I. Swartz Photo

Uptigrove was piloting a Mosquito XE285 at around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday when it crashed on the banks of the Highwood River, according to a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) news release.

He designed the original Mosquito ultra-light helicopter through his company, Innovator Technologies, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

Uptigrove then partnered with Dwight Junkin, of Composite FX, and they co-created the XE series, the CBC reported.

The Mosquito XE285 is the latest development of the XE series, with a unibody airframe made entirely of high-quality fiberglass in a vinylester matrix, according to the Innovator Technologies website.


The aircraft is powered by a two-cylinder, two-cycle water-cooled Inntec 800 engine with fuel and oil injection.

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) is investigating the cause of the crash. A TSB spokesperson reportedly said it doesn’t investigate crashes involving ultra-light helicopters very often.

Junkin told the CBC that Uptigrove was well-liked in the ultra-light community.

“He was an honest guy, a religious guy, he loved his family and he was a smart guy,” said Junkin. “A good engineer.”

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