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.”

3 thoughts on “Mosquito XE285 co-designer identified as crash victim

  1. Such an unfortunate story to read & my heart goes out to his family. It says something for the CTSB to use resources for investigating what went wrong. It is a testimony to how serious John took this project, & the impact he had in the aviation community. I hope his legacy & model of helicopter is carried on.

  2. I got to admire John. He was one nice honest person. To prove a point to me that the Mosquito would carry me ok. He tied two 50 lb. bags of horse feed to the bottom of his helicopter, and hovered it several feet above the ground. I bought and assembled the air airframe kit in hopes of putting a turbine. Before that could happen I found a unbelievable deal in a
    1963 Hughes 269A with very few hours on it since new. God bless you John in Heaven. I know you are there. May God also bless and watch over your family and love ones. Dennis L King

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