Four Killed In
Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend Plane Crash At Crystal Lake
By Shane Nolan
November 27, 2011 - On Saturday morning a single engine
Cirrus SR20 airplane departed Marion Municipal Airport,
Marion, Indiana with four people onboard. At about 10:25
AM, all four people were killed when the Cirrus SR20
aircraft crashed in a farm field near U.S. Route 14 and
North Ridgefield Road near Crystal Lake Airport, McHenry
Crystal Lake is a city located in southeastern McHenry
County in northeastern Illinois, in the Chicago suburbs.
It is named after Crystal Lake, a lake located 1.6 miles
west-southwest of downtown. Crystal Lake is also a
suburb of the city of Chicago.
Onboard were the pilot Ray Harris, his daughters Ramie and Shey, and one of the girls’ boyfriends. Ramie was on her way back to Wheaton College after the Thanksgiving weekend. Harris was rated as a private pilot with airplane single engine land privileges.
SR20 aircraft tail number N223CD was manufactured in 2000 and
owned by Marion Pilots Club, Marion, Indiana. The aircraft was a
four seat piston engine composite monoplane that was flying
under “visual flight rules.”
is noted for being the first production general aviation
aircraft equipped with a parachute designed to lower the
aircraft safely to the ground after loss of control or
structural failure. One of the plane's parachutes deployed and
was hanging from a tree near the crash scene. A witness reported
that the aircraft "disintegrated" and that the only thing really
visible was a parachute that struck the tree line.
It is unclear at this time what caused the fatal crash. However, the NTSB is combing over the wreckage for answers to this deadly crash. This is the second deadly aircraft tragedy over the Thanksgiving holiday in which a family and mother has had to come to terms with the loss of her children. On Wednesday a twin-engine Rockwell 690A aircraft crashed in the Superstition Mountains at Flat Iron killing a father and his three children along with three others when the aircraft traveling at about 200 mph slammed into the mountain ridge.
Update- NTSB Report Out - On November 26, 2011, about 1025 central standard time, a Cirrus Design SR20, N223CD, impacted a tree and terrain near Crystal Lake, Illinois. The pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The aircraft was registered to Marion Pilots Club and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as personal flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the vicinity of the accident site. The flight originated from Marion Regional Airport (MZZ), Marion, Indiana about 0830. The intended destination was DuPage Airport (DPA), West Chicago, Illinois.
At 0958, the pilot contacted DPA Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) and inquired about landing at DPA. The controller advised the pilot that the airport was under instrument flight rules. However, the flight inadvertently flew over the airport. The pilot reversed course in an attempt to return to the airport but lost sight of it. He subsequently informed the controller that he was not sure if he wanted to land at DPA because he did not want to "get in there and get stuck all day" due to the weather.
The controller noted that Chicago Executive Airport (PWK),
located about 20 miles northeast of DPA, was reporting visual flight
rules (VFR) conditions. The pilot subsequently informed the controller
that the flight was "in and out of the clouds right now." When the
controller asked the pilot if he was instrument flight rules (IFR)
qualified, the pilot replied that he was in "IFR training and I've let
this get around me."
About 1012, the flight was transferred to the Chicago
Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facility. The Chicago TRACON
controller also provided weather conditions at airports in the vicinity
of the accident flight. The pilot initially advised the controller that
he would proceed to PWK, which the closest airport reporting VFR weather
conditions at the time. However, the pilot later advised the controller
that he was no longer inbound to PWK. He commented that he didn't want
to "mess with the weather" and didn't want to "get stuck in here." The
controller subsequently approved a frequency change and the pilot
acknowledged that transmission. No further communications were received
from the accident flight.
A witness located within 1/2 mile of the accident site
reported hearing an airplane in the area; however, he was not able to
see it because of the cloud cover. He noted that it sounded like the
airplane was doing aerobatics, with the airplane climbing and
descending. Less than 1 minute later, he observed the airplane south of
his location in an approximate 70-degree nose down attitude. The
airplane subsequently impacted the ground. He noted a faint fuel smell
shortly after the accident when he responded to the site. It was misty,
with a light rain at the time of the accident.
The airplane impacted a tree and an open agricultural field
about 4 miles north-northwest of Lake in the Hills Airport (3CK).
Multiple tree limbs up to about 4 inches in diameter exhibiting fresh
breaks were distributed over an approximate 45-foot by 45-foot area
immediately north of the tree. The wreckage path was oriented on a
bearing of approximately 009 degrees magnetic. The debris field was
about 400 feet long by 75 feet wide originating at the tree bordering
the field. The main wreckage came to rest approximately 97 feet north of
the tree. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, right wing, and
horizontal stabilizer. The remaining airframe components, including all
control surfaces, were located within the debris field. The engine and
propeller had separated from the airframe and were each located 155 feet
and 131 feet north of the main wreckage, respectively.
Weather conditions recorded at DPA, located about 22 miles
south of the accident site, at 1029, included overcast clouds at 900
feet above ground level, 1-3/4 miles visibility in light rain and mist,
and wind from 170 degrees at 11 knots.
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