Payne Stewart Plane Crash Information
25 October 1999; Sunjet Aviation Learjet 35; near Aberdeen, SD: Both pilots and all four passengers, including professional golfer and 1999 U.S. Open winner Payne Stewart, were killed in the crash of a Learjet 35 aircraft (N47BA). The NTSB determined that the crash was due to an incapacitation of the flight crew members due to a loss of cabin pressurization.
The jet, operated by Sunjet Aviation, was originally on a flight from Orlando to Dallas, but strayed off course over northern Florida and continued flying to the northwest until the fuel apparently ran out. The aircraft was seen to depart from controlled flight, and spiral to the ground, and crash.
About 14 minutes after departing Orlando, air traffic controllers were unable to contact the aircraft. A U.S. Air Force F-16 was was vectored toward the aircraft, and after visually sighting the aircraft, the pilot was unable to contact the Learjet. The pilot also reported that both engines were operating and that the cockpit windows were obscured by condensation or frost. Four other F-16s observed the flight at various times, including the final descent and impact of the aircraft.
The conditions of the windows are consistent with a loss of pressurization and a subsequent rapid drop of temperature. It is likely that the pilots and occupants may have lost consciousness due to hypoxia, or a lack of oxygen. Between the last communication between the aircraft and air traffic control and the aircraft's final descent, the aircraft was reportedly flying at times in excess of 46,000 feet (the service ceiling is about 45,000 feet).
The NTSB determined that the probable cause of this accident was incapacitation of the flight crewmembers as a result of their failure to receive supplemental oxygen following a loss of cabin pressurization, for undetermined reasons.
Payne Stewart Biography
Payne Stewart was a professional golfer who won 11 PGA tiltes, including three majors (1989 PGA Championship, and 1991 and 1999 US Open).
He was born in Springfield, Missouri in 1957, and graduated from Sothern Methodist University in Dallas.
After turning professional in 1982, he won a total of 24 titles. He also represented the US in the Ryder Cup on five occasions,
including in 1999 shortly before his death. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Wikipedia Entry for Payne Stewart