The NTSB has released a preliminary report on the airplane crash that killed a 75-year-old man, who owned Galt Airport, last month near Wonder Lake.
McHenry County Coroner Dr. Michael Rein said Claude Sonday, 75, of Bull Valley, was the pilot who died on November 25.
The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, Wonder Lake Fire Protection District and Hebron-Alden-Greenwood Fire Protection District responded around 5:15 p.m. to Galt Airport, 5112 Greenwood Road in unincorporated Wonder Lake.
The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office said they received a call for a single airplane crash near the airport.
The crash involved a model EA-300LC plane, which was owned by Sonday, the sheriff’s office said and records showed.
Firefighters at the scene reported the plane was approximately a quarter-mile east of the runway up against a tree.
Sonday, who was the sole occupant of the plane, was pronounced deceased at the scene, according to the sheriff’s office.
Firefighters and paramedics initially requested a LifeNet medical helicopter to the scene but later canceled it.
The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office said they contacted the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to continue the investigation.
A spokesperson for the NTSB told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that investigators were on site collecting information the day after the incident.
The crash occurred approximately a half-mile east of the airport in a wooded area, the spokesperson said.
Federal authorities removed the aircraft and transported it to an offsite facility for further analysis.
Sonday became the official owner of Galt Airport after purchasing it with his wife in 2013 at a foreclosure auction.
“Words cannot fully express our profound sadness at the loss of our friend and owner of Galt Airport, Claude Sonday. He will be missed greatly by all who knew him. We will share information regarding service arrangements as it becomes available,” the airport said in a statement on social media.
FAA records show Sonday’s aircraft crashed “under unknown circumstances.”
A preliminary report was released on the crash earlier this week by the NTSB.
The plane had departed Galt Field Airport from runway 27 and entered a climbing right turn north.
The plane completed at least two aerobatic maneuvers and flew east toward Antioch, according to the report.
The plane entered a left 360-degree turn over a residential area south of Antioch.
It then proceeded northwest before traveling west. The plane turned south and proceeded back toward Galt Airport.
As the plane began descending toward runway 27, it crashed approximately a half-mile from the approach end of the runway.
A Piper PA-28-181 airplane had been flying in the runway 27 traffic pattern at the time of the accident.
The pilot of the Piper reported speaking to Sonday on the radio before Sonday crashed, the report said.
The pilot of the Piper recalled being slightly disoriented by sun glare but otherwise made an “uneventful” touch-and-go landing on runway 27 before reentering the traffic pattern.
Another witness reported to investigators that he was Sonday’s plane in a descent toward the airport and heard its engine running followed by what sounded like a wood-chipper, the report said.
The witness did not hear any change in engine noise as the airplane descended below his sightline.
Investigators noted that an examination of the airplane revealed no preimpact mechanical anomalies.
There was no evidence of a bird strike during the flight, the report said. Engine monitor data confirmed the engine was operating at the time of the accident.
The incident remains under investigation by the NTSB, which is still working on the final report for the incident.