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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 13585
Last updated: 23 June 2018
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Time:18:26 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic PA31 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-31-310 Navajo
Owner/operator:Sheldon P Weitzman
Registration: N26AN
C/n / msn: 31-57
Fatalities:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:University of Illinois Willard Airport, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois -   United States of America
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:University of Illinois Willard Airport (CMI/KCMI)
Destination airport:Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport, Cleveland, Ohio (BKL/KBKL)
Written off (destroyed) 9 September 1978 when stalled and spun into the ground near University of Illinois Willard Airport, Tolono Township, Champaign-Urbana, Savoy, Illinois. Crash caused by engine failure: connecting rod bolt or nut failure in #1 engine for undetermined reasons. Pilot in command unable to maintain climb and/or safe minimum flying speed

Pilots FAA check flight not complete. All six persons on board (pilot and five passengers) killed. One passenger survived the crash. but died later in hospital. According to a contemporary newspaper report ("Journal Gazette" from Mattoon, Illinois, Monday, September 11, 1978):

"CHAMPAIGN, III. (UPI) - Northwestern University football player Michael Weitzman spent most of Sunday at the bedside of his critically injured brother, Brian, the only survivor of a plane crash which killed his father, another brother and three other persons. Sheldon P. .Weitzman, 46, and sons Mitchell, 20, and 17-year-old Brian were returning home to Eastlake, Ohio, after watching Michael, a defensive tackle, play as Northwestern and Illinois battled to a 0-0 tie Saturday. The twin-engine Navajo Beech aircraft apparently lost power in one of its engines and crashed into a soybean field near Willard Airport about six miles south of Champaign Saturday, night, authorities said. Killed were the senior Weitzman; Mitchell; the pilot Richard E. Kane, 29, Lakewood, Ohio; Kane's wife Barbara, 22; and Christine Ellzey, 38, Berea, Ohio. Mrs. Kane, who died of multiple injuries Sunday, and Brian were taken from the crash scene to Burnham Hospital"

Registration N26AN cancelled by the FAA on May 4, 1982


1. NTSB Identification: CHI78FA064 at
2. FAA:
5. Journal Gazette from Mattoon, Illinois Monday, September 11, 1978

Revision history:

25-Feb-2008 12:00 ASN archive Added
22-Apr-2015 17:56 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source]
22-Apr-2015 23:09 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
10-May-2015 02:02 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Destination airport, Narrative]
26-Jan-2017 11:30 TheoIII Updated [Source, Narrative]
25-Sep-2017 23:16 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Source, Narrative]

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