20 Years Ago: Cheyenne Plane Crash Kills 7-Year-Old Pilot Jessica Dubroff
Do you remember Jessica Dubroff?
She was the 7-year-old girl who was attempting to become the youngest pilot to fly across the U.S. when her plane crashed in a Cheyenne neighborhood during a morning thunderstorm.
It was April of 1996 when a young girl named Jessica Dubroff captured the hearts of many of Cheyenne's residents. She arrived in the Capitol City as a refueling stop along a cross-county trip from Half Moon Bay, California to Cape Cod, Mass.
Mayor Leo Pando welcomed the young adventurer to Cheyenne at ceremonies attended by a large crowd of supporters at the Cheyenne Regional Airport on Wednesday evening. She was trying to set a record as the youngest pilot ever to fly across the United States.
Despite a rare morning thunderstorm, Jessica Dubroff, her father Lloyd Dubroff and flight instructor Joe Reid took off in their Cessna 177B early Thursday morning. Shortly after take-off the plane nose-dived into the front yard of a Kornegay Court neighborhood in north Cheyenne. All three aboard were killed.
At the time, many speculated whether it was safe to let someone seven years old pilot a plane. According to a New York Times article, a person of any age flying with a licensed pilot may be allowed to take control of the airplane if the pilot feels it is safe to do so.
With the unusual spring thunderstorm on that April 11 morning, some wondered why anyone would be flying in that weather. Unfortunately, a daring young lady who 'loved to fly' was anxious to continue her adventure.