Way Back Wednesday Recalls How Aviation Tragedy in Wyoming Was Catalyst For Federal Aviation Act

Jessica Dubroff, her father and her flight instructor were killed just after taking flight from Cheyenne in 1996.

Annaliese Wiederspahn

November 10, 202128 min read

(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Presented by Mick Pryor, Edward Jones

Mid-April in The Cowboy State can be a confusing time to say the least as warmer weather approaches, flowers begin to bloom, but early freezes and late winters are characteristic. While many locals leave during Wyoming’s spring to escape what many believe is the shoulder season with the least to offer. Today it’s not unusual to see an uptick in air travel among Wyomingites escaping springtime volatilities, eager for sunshine and warmth as they head to airports wearing warm clothes made for our unpredictable climate – clothing they plan to change in flight to a summery wardrobe tucked neatly into their carry-on bag.  

The U.S. Post Office gave Cheyenne’s aviation its first boost. With the introduction of airmail routes after World War I, Cheyenne civic leaders lobbied to establish Cheyenne as a stop. Buck Heffron piloted the first air mail flight to Salt Lake City on September 9, 1920. He flew a DH-4 that could barely get high enough to clear the mountains and had a maximum speed of 100 mph (160 km/h). The pilot was one of the brave aviators who was guided by a few instruments, maps and landmarks. By the latter 1920s, Cheyenne had become an important crossroads for mail and passenger flights on a transcontinental route between San Francisco and New York as well as a north–south route from Cheyenne to Pueblo, Colorado. Cheyenne was chosen over Denver due to the mountain peaks exceeding 14,000 feet immediately west of Denver. The initial carrier operating on the transcontinental route was Boeing Air Transport. By the early 1930s, Boeing had merged with three other carriers to form United Airlines.

Cheyenne’s airport saw its first paying passengers in the 1920s. The first was Elizabeth Brown, a female barber. She enjoyed a ride with World War I pilot, C.A. McKenzie, in a Curtis Oriole biplane. With the step up to the DC-3 in 1937, passengers enjoyed greater comfort and safety. Soon United DC-3s were flying Cheyenne passengers to both coasts and south to Denver.

The Boeing/United Airlines Terminal Building, Hangar and Fountain, built for what would become United Airlines between 1929 and 1934, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

During World War II the airport was a completion and modification center for B-17s. Captain Ralph S. Johnson was a test pilot for the then United States Army Air Corps, forerunner to the United States Air Force. The tail turret on the B-17 is known as the “Cheyenne” turret because it was invented at Cheyenne. 

United Airlines maintained its Douglas DC-3s at Cheyenne and in 1946 had some 1,400 employees based locally. Until 1961 the airport was the training center for United Airlines stewardesses from across the country.

The airport was visited by Charles Lindbergh, aboard the Spirit of St. Louis, and Amelia Earhart. Many historic events are chronicled on the walls of the airport restaurant. 

Back in 1996, now more than a quarter-century ago, Cheyenne welcomed another celebrated visitor amid international media attention. Child aviator Jessica Dubroff made her initial appearance in The Cowboy State in Rock Springs then later in Cheyenne and the media attention was frenetic.

Promoted as a ‘child pilot” by the media, she was embarking on a transcontinental flight attempt, but for tiny Jessica, who was less than a month shy of turning eight years old, her tender age meant she was technically and legally no such thing as a child pilot. She didn’t possess a medical or student pilot certificate, as these are restricted to those over the age of 16, according to FAA regulations, that also stated that to be eligible for a private pilot certificate a person must be at least 17 years old. For this reason young Jessica was traveling with her father, Anton ‘Lloyd’ Dubroff, and her flight instructor, Joe Reid, who was officially on record as Pilot In Command (PIC) of the aircraft due Jessica’s age. 

52-year-old Joe Reid was a broker with Dean Witter Reynolds Inc. in Palo Alto and lived in Half Moon Bay, California. He was also a flight instructor with just under 1,500 hours total time logged as a pilot. “On my sixth birthday my mom said, ‘Do you want to go down to the airport and see the small planes?’” Jessica told a reporter. Since that time Jessica had been taking flying lessons from Reid several times a week at the single-runway airfield in Half Moon Bay, traveling from her home in nearby Pescadero in the San Francisco Bay area. Her mother, Lisa Hathaway, would wait outside the hangar in her white van with Jessica’s two other siblings in tow. 

Jessica had been taking lessons for four months, logging just 35 hours before setting off across the country in the Cessna 177B Cardinal owned by Reid.

Jessica’s father, Lloyd, was a San Mateo, California business consultant, married to his current wife, Melinda and father to their 5-year-old daughter. He was also father to Jessica’s two siblings with Lisa, a spiritual healer. Although Lisa and Lloyd  had lived together for several years, they never married. In fact it was widely reported that Jessica Dubroff was born in a tub of warm water at her parents’ home in Falmouth, Massachusetts, on May 5, 1988, and that Lisa didn’t believe in western medicine, traditional schooling, children’s books, or even toys. In Falmouth, police later told the media that Lisa was in fact a squatter, living off handouts from a local health food store. Court papers referred to Lisa as Lloyd’s “ex-wife (common law).” Additionally, Lloyd had two grown children from another marriage. 

Lloyd had studied engineering at Florida State University but he never graduated. While Lloyd had longed to fly in the Air Force, his height of 6’ 4” made it impossible. Over the years Lloyd had financial challenges and was a frequent defendant in small-claims complaints about debts for back rent, taxes and car repairs. In 1993 Lloyd declared bankruptcy, as Lisa had in 1985. 

Lloyd found work in insurance in San Francisco but always maintained loftier goals. “Lloyd was a big thinker, an entrepreneur,” Ruth Schwartz said in an interview with People Magazine. She worked at a travel company with Lloyd, and she continued by saying, “Sometimes his ideas worked out, sometimes they didn’t. He was always looking for an opportunity to make money.”

A San Francisco landlord who had evicted Lloyd Dubroff in 1993 at the time of his bankruptcy, was surprised to hear news of the ambitious, and costly, adventure. “I don’t understand how he could come up with the money to pay for a flight like this,” , Suzanne Cahn told the San Francisco Examiner at the time, “unless he was planning to write a book and sell it or something like that.”

Reid’s wife Ana said it was Lisa who broached the idea of a cross-country flight with Joe, while Lloyd claimed that he had thought up the idea. At any rate, the three adults in the equation all embraced the plan to have Jessica pilot a small airplane from California to Massachusetts and back, beating the “record” for the youngest transcontinental pilot. Joe Reid was described as a deeply religious Vietnam war veteran who was also a member of the Knights of Columbus, passionate about flying to the degree he was instrumental in forming a local flying club, and appeared quite happy to take the whip-smart Jessica into the air and teach her to fly. His youngest-ever student had clocked just 33 hours in the air when Joe along with Jessica’s parents together concocted the plan that would send the country’s media into a frenzy, and sadly end in tragedy.

Jessica and her father had said publicly that they hoped to set a record. Lloyd had indeed faxed the Guinness Book of Records weeks earlier in the hope that his daughter’s achievement would be formally recognized. However he was swiftly informed that the publication had stopped certifying the “youngest pilot” record several years earlier, in 1990, for fear of encouraging unsafe flights. Officially, Guinness had followed the lead of the National Aeronautic Administration, a Virginia group that oversees U.S. aircraft achievements. A Guinness representative did tell reporters on the day of the first flight that they would feature Jessica in the company museum if she was successful in the endeavor. 

Dubbed “The Sea to Shining Sea” journey, a flight plan was laid out that involved a one-week circuit with many stops across the continental United State and back to California forming a loop. Lloyd quickly alerted the media and ordered custom-made caps and T-shirts with the “Sea to Shining Sea” logo to distribute as souvenirs during their stops. A red duffle bag full of the caps sat behind him in the cockpit, ready to hand out to well-wishers along the way as the media attention and journey gained traction. 

News coverage in the weeks leading up to the flight was as widespread as Lloyd had hoped. The New York Times called the girl who had become an instant celebrity “spunky, freckle-faced Jessica.” In media interviews Lloyd acknowledged that his daughter sat on a red booster seat to be able to see out of the cockpit and that extenders were attached to the pedals of the aircraft so her legs could reach the rudder controls. Though seasoned pilots and avid aviators could see the warning signs of impending doom, from the moment the trio set off from Half Moon Bay, the press spurred on the adventure with Jessica sitting in the pilot’s seat on the left, in control and in front of the plane’s instruments, Reid next to her in the right seat, with Lloyd in the back. The aircraft had dual controls, though the team’s flight plan called for Reid to take over “only in an emergency.” 

In a phone interview a week before the flight a reporter asked Jessica, “Why would you do this, what many people think, is a dangerous trip?”

“Well, I believe it was my dad’s idea,” she replied.

The first leg of the flight from Half Moon Bay was a success. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent U.S. government investigative agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation. According to NTSB investigations, on Wednesday, April 10, 1996, the four-seat Cessna 177B Cardinal single-engine aircraft departed Half Moon Bay, California, at 7:00 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, landing in Elko, Nevada, at approximately 10:20 for refueling. The airplane then departed Elko at 11:15 PDT, arriving in Rock Springs roughly three hours later in Mountain Daylight Time. 

The manager at Rock Springs airport recalled that Joe Reid was “noticeably exhausted.” Meanwhile Joe phoned the Automated Flight Service Station in Casper to obtain a weather briefing for the next leg flight to Cheyenne. The small plane departed Rock Springs at approximately 3:40 p.m. local time and landed in Cheyenne at 5:25. During the investigation Reid’s wife Ana confirmed that Joe called her that evening from Cheyenne and, according to his wife, he sounded tired, and in fact Joe revealed to her in that phone conversation that he was “very tired.”

Arriving in Cheyenne there was a throng of media waiting for the trio. At a news conference at Cheyenne Airport that night, Dubroff captivated reporters, though in hindsight her words, and her father’s, maybe spoke to fatigue setting in before they had even crossed the Mississippi. “It’s been a long day,” Jessica told the reporters who were captivated by her story. “I can’t wait until the next day. I can’t wait to sleep. I had two hours of sleep last night.”

Lloyd quipped, “This started off as a father-daughter adventure and it’s gotten wonderfully out of hand.”

Joe had averaged about six hours of sleep for the three days prior to the trip, and on the first day, he woke up at 3:30 a.m. Studies have shown that most people underestimate their fatigue level. Many people are familiar with a recent media campaign warning that “Drowsy Driving Is Similar to Drunk Driving.” Studies have shown that going too long without sleep can impair your ability to drive the same way as drinking too much alcohol. Alcohol is a major factor in motor vehicle deaths, and still is a significant causative factor in aviation deaths. There are two Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR’s) that are important to know when it comes to drinking and flying. Most pilots are aware of the “8-hour rule” that prescribes eight hours from bottle to throttle, although many airlines have a more stringent 12-hour time limit. Many pilots, however, do not know of the 0.04% FAR, which prohibits flying an aircraft with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04% or higher. Studies have revealed that being awake for at least 18 hours is akin to someone having a blood content (BAC) of 0.05%. Even copious quantities of caffeine won’t overcome a chronic fatigue problem. 

When Joe commented in Rock Springs that he was tired and later that night told Ana that he “was really tired,” it’s a safe bet that he likely fit the definition of being fatigued on the day before the crash. There was an opportunity for rest when Joe checked into a hotel at 7 p.m. local time and checked out again at 6:22 a.m., but the quality and quantity of his sleep the night before the fatal crash will never be known.

The “Sea to Shining Sea” flight was to depart from Cheyenne early on Thursday morning April 11 before the storm system arrived, but Lloyd decided that Jessica needed her sleep after a very long first day and therefore he delayed her wake-up call by about thirty minutes. There were further delays as more and more media interviews took precious time, with a final telephone interview concluding around 7:45 a.m.

In the last television interview with Jessica on the tarmac in Cheyenne, Jessica reportedly looked cold, tired and distracted. As the icy wind blew Jessica’s hair around her familiar baseball cap a reporter asked her, “Do you ever get scared up there?” Jessica dismissed the question by responding with “nah,” but looked off to the side, appearing agitated. The reporter, picking up on her apparent discomfort, asked, “Are you cold right now?” to which she replied, “Yeah,” and with that exchange her final television interview ended.

Cold rain fell on the Cheyenne Regional Airport at dawn, and in spite of friendly invitations in the true spirit of Wyoming hospitality to stay in Cheyenne, holding out for clearer skies, Lloyd declined, insisting that they should beat the storm, stay on schedule and make the next stop on the itinerary in Lincoln, Nebraska. 

Jessica and Lloyd spoke with Lisa via cell phone prior to takeoff. Jessica mentioned the rain to her mother and at 8:01 Joe contacted the Casper Automated Flight Service Station and requested a weather briefing for a VFR flight from Cheyenne to Lincoln. Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) and Visual Flight Rules (VFR) are the two sets of rules for operating any aircraft. Although Reid held an instrument rating, he was not current.

The weather briefer reported: “At this time we have an airmet for icing, moderate below 24,000 in Wyoming; an airmet for turbulence along the route, possibly severe below 18,000, otherwise moderate; IFR flight precautions are in effect likewise along that route, and there’s a cold front just to the north of your position; actually, they depict it through there now.”

Joe replied, “Yeah, it’s starting to rain here.”

The briefer continued describing the current weather conditions, including the rain showers, thunderstorms, icing, and IFR and stated, “Not looking for a lot of improvement. Cheyenne is currently 2,600 broken, 3,000 overcast, 10 miles with light rain.”

The briefer then described current conditions at several points east of Cheyenne, and the pilot replied, “Yeah, probably looks good out there from here…looking east, looks like the sun’s shining, as a matter of fact.” The forecast contained thunderstorms, rain, and fog for Cheyenne as well as points east. 

The briefer then stated, “So if you can venture out of there and go east it looks…,” to which the pilot replied, “Yeah, it looks pretty good, actually.” The briefer then referenced “adverse conditions currently in Cheyenne,” and the pilot said, “Yeah, it’s raining pretty good right here now…. It’s steady but nothing bad…and to the east it looks real good.” 

While Joe was convincing himself the weather would be better aloft he filed a VFR flight plan for Lincoln and at 8:13 the engine was started on the Cardinal. Jessica was reported to be in the pilot seat with a clear view of all instruments while Joe was in the front passenger seat. The engine was subsequently shut down and then there was an engine restart after removal of the nose wheel chock, a mistake that presumably occurred due to the excitement of onlookers and the haste to escape the stormy weather conditions. During this time a home videotape showed steady rain as well as standing water on the ramp.

Meanwhile several other pilots, including the captain of a Beech 1900 regional airliner, delayed their departures due to weather. However a Cessna 414 departed just ahead of Joe’s plane and at 8:18 the tower in Cheyenne relayed to the Cardinal, “A twin Cessna just departed reported moderate low-level wind shear plus or minus 15 knots,” and Joe acknowledged. But only a few seconds later the tower advised that “tower visibility is two-and-three-quarters, field is IFR and say request,” to which Joe responded, “OK, Two-Zero-Seven would like a Special IFR with a right downwind departure.” The controller clarified that the pilot meant Special VFR, not IFR, and cleared the flight out of the airport vicinity. 

Jessica had captured the hearts of many of Cheyenne’s residents. She arrived in the Capitol City and 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. On Thursday morning the enthusiasm remained high and

onlookers held signs reading “Good Luck Jessica” and many were on hand to cheer her flight through the incoming storm. The flight was cleared for takeoff at 8:20, and Joe had dispensed with the runup and simply rolled out onto the runway. The Cardinal took off at 8:24 a.m.

While Joe, as pilot-in-command, had appeared to be going through the motions, there were glaring mistakes, including starting the engine with the nose wheel still chocked. He had also requested taxi clearance before obtaining the automated terminal information service data, read back an incorrect frequency, accepted a radio frequency that could not be tuned on his radios, failed to acknowledge a controller’s readback of weather, failed to stop at the end of the runway, and used incorrect phraseology by requesting a “Special IFR” clearance when he intended to request “Special VFR.” Most pilots have been guilty of a few of these blunders on occasion, but having them all occur in the space of a few minutes would have been cause for concern while still on the ground. 

These problems may have been the result of fatigue, rushing to beat the storm, gravely inadequate pre-departure habits or Joe, with his pilot-in-command authority, yielding to Jessica’s publicity-minded father to keep the flight on time. In hind-sight it’s easy to look at the psychology and the motivation that prompted Joe to push beyond the limits of safety. From the outset, their entire flight appeared to be a media event, a publicity stunt, and the itinerary was built on meeting a specific schedule. Lloyd had spent hours arranging interviews with radio and TV stations all across the country. The flight itinerary called for 51 hours of flying in only eight days, with no time off and no contingency for weather — an ambitious schedule at best, and a recipe for delays or impending doom during volatile springtime weather in Wyoming. 

As the Cessna taxied to the runway, with Jessica, Joe and Lloyd aboard, rain and sleet battered the 1,500-pound aircraft’s wings with visibility less than three miles. Witnesses reported the Cessna taking off from Runway 30 then slowly climbing through the thick clouds, wings shaking in the wind, before rolling out of its turn, dropping through the sleet and crashing at a near-vertical angle into Kornegay Court in a residential Cheyenne neighborhood, less than a mile from the airport. All three onboard were killed and miraculously nobody on the ground was injured or killed. 

A Sam’s Club employee who was stopped in his car at an intersection near the airport told the New York Times, “I was shocked to see an airplane taking off in these weather conditions ⁠—  my wipers on high speed could barely keep up. The plane was struggling and dipping.”

An amatuer video showed the aircraft lifting off Runway 30, while ground witnesses observed the Cardinal execute a gradual right turn to the east. The aircraft was described as having a low altitude, low airspeed, a high pitch attitude, and wobbly wings. As it was rolling out of the right turn at several hundred feet above ground level (AGL), the aircraft descended rapidly to the ground in a near-vertical attitude approximately 4,000 feet from the departure end of Runway 30.

Data from nearby Doppler weather surveillance radar showed rainfall at departure time to be moderate and becoming heavy to intense where the aircraft began its right turn and was observed to stall.

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. At the time, many speculated whether it was safe to let a seven-year-old pilot a plane.

A couple and their daughter talked over coffee while reading the newspaper that morning as the Wyoming wind rattled the windows of their suburban Cheyenne home. As they were talking they reportedly discussed how it made no sense that a child should fly in these conditions. 

On that stormy April 11 morning, some wondered why anyone would be flying in that weather. For Jessica, described as a daring young lady who ‘loved to fly,’ she was said to be anxious to continue her adventure; or was she experiencing anxiety over what may have triggered her human sense of danger in what may well have felt like a bad situation?

It is believed that Joe had explained the weather situation to Lloyd but whether Jessica was apprised is unknown. Instead of providing Lloyd with the options, however, Joe folded to the human tendency to attempt completion of “the mission.” One choice would have been to depart well before Cheyenne came under the storm’s influence. This would have meant giving up sleep and along with several media interviews — something the father was absolutely unwilling to do. The second choice was to delay the flight until the front had passed, which would have realistically delayed the trip by at least a day, or likely more because the weather would be preceding them across the country. 

Since Joe had allowed his instrument rating to lapse, he would not have been able to legally file an IFR flight plan to deal with low clouds and visibilities — even without thunderstorms. While there are a number of other factors that influence the decision, it’s usually the weather that dictates whether you fly VFR or IFR. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) defines weather-related flight conditions for VFR and IFR in terms of specific values for ceiling and visibility. IFR requires a ceiling less than 1,000 feet above ground level (AGL) and/or visibility of fewer than three miles. VFR requires a ceiling greater than 3,000 feet AGL and visibility that’s greater than five miles. A Special Visual Flight Rules (SVFR) flight is a VFR flight that’s cleared by air traffic control to operate within a control zone that’s normally below visual meteorological conditions. In the daytime, you must have at least one mile of flight visibility and clear of clouds.

Ironically, the family who had been reading the newspaper and talking were among the first to arrive at the crash site, just a half-block from their home.“ The mother told  People Magazine, “I’ll never forget the red bag, like a duffel bag, just strewn around … all these hats were all over the ground. They read, ‘Jessica Whitney Dubroff, Sea to Shining Sea, April 1996.’”

As the news broke, mourners gathered at the crash site that had been quickly covered by a tarpaulin. Flowers, stuffed toys and bible verses were left by the wreckage. In a news conference that morning the Mayor of Cheyenne, Leo Pando, who had greeted Jessica so enthusiastically the day before, reportedly broke down in tears, saying that Jessica had reminded him of his own daughter, who died in a flood 11 years before.

As everyone with access to radio or television quickly learned the tragic results of the “Sea to Shining Sea” flight Lisa also learned the fate of Jessica, Lloyd and Joe. The media and public, those who had been so invested and happy to cheer forward the flight by a child aviator, turned on a dime when they heard Lisa telling the Associated Press, “I beg people to let children fly if they want to fly,” through tears. “Clearly I would want all my children to die in a state of joy. I mean, what more could I ask for? I would prefer it was not at age 7 but, God, she went with her joy and her passion, and her life was in her hands.”

Indeed, the crash in Cheyenne that was now described as “pushing too hard into weather with a light aircraft” inspired a growing national outrage over Jessica’s parents encouraging her to become “the youngest pilot” to cross the United States. Also at play was the media megadose of a child-pilot-at-the-controls publicity stunt designed to show the world that anyone could fly. The trip was advertised as a cross-continent flight by the youngest “pilot” ever and the national media had swallowed the hook on this fairytale odyssey and was stalking the trio’s every move.

Jessica’s mother and uncle, Ben Hathaway, did not second guess the decision to let a child try to fly across America. “Everybody’s saying a 7-year-old shouldn’t do this. Why not?” Ben Hathaway told reporters. “Before it crashed, everybody was behind Jessica. I’m still proud of her.”

However child therapists spoke out, stating that no seven-year-old could have the cognitive skills to truly comprehend the enormity of what Jessica set out to accomplish. They said that the ambition, the drive for glory and a place in the record books, could not have been her own. Yes, she had an interest in flying, but experts likened it to a child who enjoys playing with toy soldiers shouldn’t be sent to war. 

In all the press and video interviews with Jessica at the time, it’s hard to find a moment where she seemed truly enthusiastic about the odyssey her parents set her on. 

It’s a tragic outcome that still haunts people decades later as shown in this video from YouTube’s FlightSimGuy.

The Philadelphia Inquirer characterized it, “a dark tale about glory and ambition, about notoriety and blame; about a culture that demands everything bigger, faster, younger, sooner, and about a family and a system, that let a 7-year-old fly a plane to her death in a rainstorm.”

ABC’s Ted Koppel even took a moment to address the media’s role in the tragedy. “We need to begin by acknowledging our own contribution,” he told “Nightline” viewers. “We feed one another: those of you looking for publicity and those of us looking for stories.”

Koppel ended by asking “whether we in the media … by our ravenous attention contribute to this phenomenon,” then soberly answering himself, “We did.”

Before Guinness stopped certifying the record, the “youngest pilot” listed as completing a transcontinental journey was 9-year-old Rachel Carter of Ramona, Calif., in 1994. Eight-year-old Killian Moss of Phoenix completed a similar journey in 1995.

The ‘90s phenomenon of young aviators came to an end with Jessica Dubroff that rainy morning in Cheyenne.

Even the U.S. Congress found something they could agree upon In Washington. Within hours of the tragic news, the chairman of the House Aviation subcommittee called the crash a “needless tragedy,” and the government immediately ordered a review into who can fly planes, resulting in President Bill Clinton signing the Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act of 1996, which included a statute prohibiting anyone under the age of 16 from manipulating the controls of an aircraft if that individual “is attempting to set a record or engage in an aeronautical competition or aeronautical feat.”

The NTSB conducted their painstaking investigation, releasing a factual report on March 31, 1997 and a final determination report on June 30, 1997. The National Transportation Safety Board determined the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the pilot-in-command’s improper decision to take off into deteriorating weather conditions (including turbulence, gusty winds, and an advancing thunderstorm and associated precipitation) when the airplane was overweight and when the density altitude was higher than he was accustomed to, resulting in a stall caused by failure to maintain airspeed. Contributing to the pilot-in-command’s decision to take off was a desire to adhere to an overly ambitious itinerary, in part, because of media commitments. 

The crash that took place more than a quarter-century ago is marked by a tiny memorial on Kornegay Court, just a block away from the major north-south street, Yellowstone Road. It’s on the north side of the street in a manicured grass area between the sidewalk and a large parking lot for a bank. The crash is known to have taken place on Kornegay Court, which is barely two blocks long.

Earlier this year Cheyenne’s Director of Aviation, Tim Barth, said the airport would be closed longer than anticipated in 2021, citing pandemic related labor shortages and supply chain complications along with the nationwide shortage of concrete approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that put the construction of the runway behind schedule. Today the Cheyenne Regional Airport (CHY) is open for business, with normal air service to Denver resumed on November 1, yet Jessica Dubroff and the plane crash on April 11, 1996 will forever be a notable and tragic event in the airport’s history.

This page from Wyoming’s rich history has been presented by Mick Pryor, Edward Jones Financial Advisor. While we can’t change the past, a financial strategy for the future can be planned. If you have questions, concerns or are simply looking for a friendly advisor to discover your goals, discuss strategy and look to your financial future, contact Mick Pryor today.

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Annaliese Wiederspahn

State Political Reporter