Founder of Minnesota-based Precision Lens dies when vintage airplane crashes in Hamilton

Associated Press

The founder of the Minnesota-based medical products company Precision Lens died when a vintage plane crashed shortly after takeoff at an airport in Montana.

Paul Ehlen was piloting the plane that went down at 8:07 a.m. Tuesday at the Ravalli County Airport, according to the company’s chief financial officer, Bill Henneman, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. The aircraft was a World War II vintage P-40E registered with the Federal Aviation Administration to one of Ehlen’s LLCs.

“Precision Lens is saddened by the passing earlier today of its founder Paul Ehlen,” the company said in a statement. “Paul had a passion for restoring and flying vintage military aircraft, and he was killed this morning when the single-engine P-40 he was flying back to Minneapolis suffered a mechanical failure on takeoff.”

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate, authorities said.

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Ehlen was alone on the plane and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a news release from the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office. The airport is in Hamilton, Montana, near Missoula, where Ehlen had a home.

Precision Lens is based in Bloomington, Minnesota.

In February, a federal

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