Jessica Whitney Dubroff was a 7 years old pilot trainee. She was born on May 5, 1988 in Hercules, Contra Costa County, California. Jessica Dubroff was died on April 11, 1996 attempting to become the youngest person to fly an airplane across the United States of America. Her general aviation aircraft crashed after takeoff from Cheyenne Regional Airport in Cheyenne before twenty-four hours of her attempt which was flown by her flight instructor.
Dubroff became an instant media celebrity during her flight which included several break in her journey. Until the sudden ending of her “Sea to Shining Sea Flight”, her flight was energetically followed by supporters, media outlets, and others who monitored her flight, reporting each time she landed or took off. Dubroff’s aircraft took off from Cheyenne in heavy rain and a sudden storm. Due to bad weather conditions, the accident occurred within a few minutes after takeoff.
In this crash Dubroff, Jessica Dubroff, her father and her flight Joe Reid instructor were killed. Reid was lawfully pilot in command for all her flights and was apparently manipulating the controls during this particular flight segment. According to report, during the previous flight segments Dubroff had slept and due to high winds Joe Reid assisted her in one of the landings.
The National Transportation Safety Board investigation concluded that the accident was caused by Reid’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.” The NTSB further determined that “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 accident and its connected publicity forbid anyone who does not hold at least a private pilot certificate and to manipulate the controls of an aircraft, a current medical certificate from being allowed during any record attempt, aeronautical competition, or aeronautical feat.
Her last recorded words were, “Do you hear the rain? Do you hear the rain?” A book about Dubroff’s life has been published by her mother, Lisa Blair Hathaway.