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Cause Revealed in Death of Former Clinton, Obama Admin Official

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Federal investigators on Friday released a report detailing how a former official in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama was killed during an in-flight incident aboard a Bombardier corporate jet.

Investigators said the former official was killed after pilots turned off a system that stabilized the aircraft, which then caused it to pitch upward violently.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board regarding the March 3 incident, pilots were responding to several warnings in the cockpit of the Bombardier jet, followed a checklist, and turned off a switch that controls the plane’s tail stabilizer.

According to the report, the plane experienced a nose-up turn at a force several times greater than gravity after the switch was turned off, followed by a downward turn before pitching upward again. The pilots were eventually able to regain control of the aircraft, Fox Business reported. The pilots said that they did not encounter any turbulence, contradicting the preliminary assessment made by the NTSB the day after the incident.

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Dana Hyde, 55, the passenger who died in the corporate jet incident, was a distinguished attorney who worked in the Obama and Clinton administrations. She had also served as counsel to the 9/11 Commission and was the former CEO of Millennium Challenge Corporation, an independent foreign aid agency of the US government, as mentioned in her biography from 2018.

After pilots landed the jet, Hyde, who lived in Cabin John, Md., was taken by ambulance to Saint Francis Medical Center in Hartford, Conn., where she was later pronounced dead.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration database, the private jet, which is owned by Conexon, a company based in Kansas City, Mo., had five individuals on board during the incident.

“We can confirm that the aircraft was owned by Conexon and that Dana Hyde was the wife of Conexon partner Jonathan Chambers,” company spokesperson Abby Carere said in an email. “Jonathan and his son were on the flight also and not injured in the incident.”

Conexon specializes in the expansion of high-speed internet service to rural communities, the outlet reported.

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According to her LinkedIn page, Hyde also held the position of co-chair for the Aspen Institute’s Partnership for an Inclusive Economy. Jon Purves, a spokesperson for the organization, confirmed that Hyde was a part-time consultant and served as the co-chair of APIE from 2020 to 2021.

“During her time with us, Dana was a brilliant and generous colleague who worked closely with programs across the organization to build partnerships and enhance our collective work,” he said. “The thoughts of our entire Aspen Institute community are with Dana’s family and loved ones.”

Before then, Hyde worked in both the Obama and Clinton administrations and had experience in private practice. Additionally, from 2002 to 2004, she was a member of the commission that investigated the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, NBC News noted.

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Hyde “served as a special assistant to the president for cabinet affairs and a special assistant to the deputy U.S. attorney general during President Bill Clinton’s administration, and as a senior policy adviser at the State Department and associate director at the Office of Management and Budget during President Barack Obama’s administration, the LinkedIn site indicates,” the Associated Press reported earlier this month.

The AP noted further at the time that the NTSB stated it was investigating a “reported trim issue that occurred prior to the inflight upset,” which refers to adjustments made to an aircraft’s control surfaces to maintain stability and level flight.

After trim issues were reported with the same model of Bombardier aircraft, the FAA instructed pilots to take additional pre-flight measures last year. “The directive, which applied to an estimated 678 aircraft registered in the U.S., called for expanded pre-flight checks of pitch trim and revised cockpit procedures for pilots to be used under certain circumstances,” the AP reported.

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“Bombardier, the jet’s Canadian manufacturer, said it is cooperating with federal investigators and has launched a probe of its own,” Fox Business added.

The aircraft “was traveling from Keene, New Hampshire, to Leesburg, Virginia, before diverting to Bradley International Airport in Connecticut. Shortly after the in-flight incident, the crew was alerted to the medical emergency, and the pilot did not reengage the autopilot for the remainder of the flight.”

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