Jessica, born at home in a birthing tub, lived with her mother and her two siblings -- Joshua, 9, and Jasmine, 3 -- in Pescadero, about 40 miles south of San Francisco. Most pilots are incensed at the pilot (Reid) for taking off under risky conditions and possibly subjecting general aviation to more regulation (box, page 27). [2](p6), Dubroff was born in Falmouth, Massachusetts, to Lisa Blair Hathaway and Lloyd Dubroff and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in California when she was four. Jessica, who was a fan of biographies of the aviator Amelia Earhart, drew up the flight plans herself, arranging to visit grandparents in Massachusetts and Florida and to stopover on her return trip in Washington, where she had even hoped to entice President Clinton to fly with her aboard the Cessna. "I cared deeply for this little girl," he said. You have 4 free articles remaining this month, Sign-up to our daily newsletter for more articles like this + access to 5 extra articles. That caused some anxiety. TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. For the press, the real lesson may be that there's a big difference between covering Charles Lindbergh (or even Evel Knievel, the daredevil motorcyclist) and turning a 7-year-old into yet more fodder for the American hype machine. Members of Congress who said nothing in recent years when more than a dozen children, 8 to 11 years old, flew long distances, were suddenly in a lather, too, with committee chairmen assailing lax rules. The consequences have been disastrous before. A solo pilot of a plane must be at least 16 years old. According to witnesses, the plane lifted off and climbed slowly,[2](p35) with its nose high and its wings wobbling. Amelia Earhart, Jessica's hero, felt pressure from promoters and the press to complete dangerous flights and may have died over the Pacific in 1937 in part because of it. After landing here late Wednesday in a Cessna outfitted with a booster seat so she could see out the window and extensions on the pedals so her legs could reach them, Jessica quickly captivated people in Cheyenne at a news conference at the airport. But a person of any age may fly next to a licensed pilot, who may let them take control if he or she feels it is safe to do so. "It's been a long day," she said then. "I can't wait until the next day. The Mayor said Jessica had told him she drew up the flight plans herself, picking Cheyenne as the first stop after calculating how far a tank of gas would take her from her home in California. A 7-year-old California girl on a quest to become the youngest cross-country pilot was killed today when her single-engine plane crashed shortly after take-off in thunder and driving sleet. Moments later the plane crashed over Siberia, killing all 75 aboard. [8][11], After the crash, there were claims that the media frenzy around the "bogus" record attempt contributed to the accident by helping promote the flight and pressuring its schedule. Still, press reports of Guinness's 1989 decision to exclude child aviation records mostly missed that Guinness offered to put Jessica Dubroff in its museum had she completed the flight. [2](p58) While the coast-to-coast flight was promoted as a "record" attempt because of Dubroff's young age, there was no known body recognizing record flights by underage "pilots" at the time of her flight (The Guinness Book of Records had officially discontinued its "youngest pilot" categories seven years earlier, because of the risk of accidents). [2](p11), As forecast, the weather on the morning of the scheduled flight consisted of an area of heavy precipitation over and to the north and west of Cheyenne, with better conditions to the east, where the flight was headed. She said heatedly: "Joe Reid is not 7 years old. The article said her plea to the President had drawn no response. But Jessica suggested that he may have done so on the first leg of the journey. "I was shocked to see an airplane taking off in these weather conditions -- my wipers on high speed could barely keep up," said Mel Montoya, a clerk at a Sam's Club store who was stopped in his car at an intersection near the airport. But in aviation, while licenses aren't granted until the age of 16, people of any age can legally operate controls in the pilot's seat, not just in midair but during takeoffs and landings. Jessica was breaking no aviation rules when she flew. "This is criminal-type behavior." Reid reportedly told his wife that he considered the flight a "non-event for aviation", simply "flying cross country with a 7-year-old sitting next to you and the parents paying for it. Rescue workers found no sentimental teddy bears amid the wreckage -- Jessica's parents didn't give her toys, preferring power tools so she could "learn by doing." Such side-to-side head motion, combined with the worsening flight visibility during the climb and the reduced stall margin, could have led to spatial disorientation and loss of control. "[2](p53)[7], The accident and its associated publicity led to federal legislation to prevent similar "record" attempts by underage pilots from taking place in the future. On October 9, President Bill Clinton signed the Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act of 1996, including the Child Pilot Safety Act, into law. The White House did not respond favorably. [3], The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated the crash and concluded that the fatality was caused by Reid's improper decision to take off in poor weather conditions, his overloading the aircraft, and his failure to maintain airspeed. In December 1992, Hathaway gave birth to Dubroff's full sister, Jasmine, who was conceived while she lived for a time with Lloyd and Hurst in California. Flight Record, Dies in Crash. "I do think we should look at it from the view of the judgment made to take off in a small, one-motor private airplane, in light of what I understand was a thunderstorm. Jessica Dubroff became a national tragic figure when her single-engine Cessna went down after takeoff in an icy rainstorm, killing her, her father and her flight instructor, Joe Reid. With any luck, Jessica's senseless death may turn out to be the publicity stunt to end all publicity stunts -- at least those involving children in potential peril. Even word of wind shear from the tower didn't dissuade Reid from proceeding. Children under 14 can't drive a car, even a driver's ed model equipped with dual steering wheel and brakes on the instructor's side. "I beg people to let children fly if they want to fly," a teary-eyed Ms. Hathaway told The Associated Press before flying from Boston to Wyoming to claim her daughter's body. See why nearly a quarter of a million subscribers begin their day with the Starting 5. It was agreed that Reid would be paid for his services at normal flight instruction rates, plus compensation for the layover time. He said he had asked Jessica and she loved the idea. "I just love to fly," said Jessica. [2](p35)[3], After a long day of flying from their Half Moon Bay, California departure point, Dubroff, Lloyd, and Reid arrived in Cheyenne the evening before their ill-fated flight. Lloyd Dubroff, so attentive to the other details of promoting his daughter's exploits, had somehow neglected to put the tape in. "Do you hear the rain?". [2](p6) It began a gradual right turn, and after reaching an altitude of a few hundred feet, the plane rolled out of its turn, then descended rapidly, crashing at a near-vertical angle into Kornegay Court, a street in a residential neighborhood. [5] After some media interviews, they got a ride to their hotel in the car of a local radio station program director, who recalled them discussing the forecast weather conditions for the next day. To continue reading login or create an account. ", Her father, Lloyd, said: "She really does love to fly. But her father, Lloyd, and flight instructor, Joe Reid, were in a hurry to keep on schedule for the waiting world. A "stall" takes place when the nose is lifted at too sharp an angle, a mistake more likely to have been made by Jessica than by Reid. A similar decision was made by the National Aeronautic Association, which keeps American aviation records. [1], Before his death in the crash, Lloyd bought four separate life insurance policies, each for $750,000. The Mayor of Cheyenne, Leo Pando, broke down at a news conference here this morning, saying that Jessica had reminded him of his own daughter, who died in a flood 11 years ago at the age of 16. Although billed by the media as a pilot, Dubroff was not legally able to be a pilot because of her age. The recriminations didn't take long. [4] Dubroff would sit in the front left seat, Reid in the front right, and Lloyd in the back. He was a quarter-inch away. The children were educated at home and also taught things like how to build furniture and repair houses. She knew immediately that the passengers had been killed on impact. [2](p53) ABC's Ted Koppel reflected on the media's role in the tragedy on Nightline: "We need to begin by acknowledging our own contribution...We feed one another: those of you looking for publicity and those of us looking for stories." [2][page needed]. As the plane took off, Jessica's brother, Joshua, 9, was talking to his dad on a cell phone from Falmouth, Mass. As the aircraft began taxiing to the departure runway, the rain intensified and visibility at the airport fell below the three mile minimum required for VFR flight. His commercial flight, with 19 passengers aboard, was scheduled to leave the Cheyenne, Wyo., airport a few minutes later.

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