Saturday, December 26, 2015

Plane crash brings Oshkosh, Wisconsin, community together

Jeremy Monnett, of Sonex Aircraft shows Kiera Heisler of Perry Tipler Middle school what it is like inside the cockpit of one of their planes as part of a job shadow experience for 8th graders put on by the Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce in this 2014 file photo.

Mike Clark 
(Photo: Courtesy of Sonex Aircraft)

When covering breaking news and public safety, reporters often find themselves writing about the worst day of somebody’s life.

This certainly was the case on the afternoon of June 2, when a single-engine Sonex Sport Acro crashed about 3:20 p.m. at Oshkosh Corp.’s north plant, near Wittman Regional Airport. Neither of the plane’s occupants survived.

It wasn’t until the next day the Oshkosh-based aircraft kit manufacturer announced its CEO Jeremy Monnett and assembly mechanic Mike Clark were killed in the crash. Monnett had come in on his day off to take Clark, a relatively new employee, up for a local recreational flight to let Clark become more familiar with the aircraft.

About a week before the crash, Monnett, 40, spoke to the Oshkosh Common Council in favor of creating an aviation business park that he said would attract more businesses and, in turn, jobs to the region. His passion for the industry and for his community were his calling card, those who knew him said.

Clark, 20, had just graduated from Fox Valley Technical College with a technical diploma in airframe and powerplant mechanics and was scheduled to take his FAA certification test within a couple of weeks.

While nobody enjoys having to report on a fatal crash, it is a necessary evil of the news industry. Talking to those who are left behind often can provide a sense of closure but also allows a deeper understanding of the individual.

Journalism is about storytelling, and everyone has a story. It’s a reporter’s job to tell it.



NTSB Identification: CEN15FA249
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, June 02, 2015 in Oshkosh, WI
Aircraft: MONNETT JOHN T JR SONEX SA, registration: N123SX
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On June 2, 2015, about 1520 central daylight time, a Monnett Sonex SA experimental amateur-built airplane, N123SX, impacted unoccupied vehicles, after departing the Wittman Regional Airport (OSH), Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Both private pilots were fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by Sonex Aircraft LLC, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight which operated without a flight plan. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to OSH tower personnel, the airplane departed runway 9 from the intersection of runway 9 and runway 13. After clearing the airplane for takeoff, the tower controller focused their attention on inbound traffic and did not witness the accident.

The accident site was located 0.25 miles east-northeast of the departure end of runway 9. The airplane came to rest on unoccupied vehicles located on Oshkosh Corporation's property on a general heading of 220 degrees. The engine separated from the airplane and was located on the ground in front of the airplane. All major components remained attached to the airplane. The airplane was transported to a secure facility for further examination.


Jeremy Monnett, 

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