A former official in the Bill Clinton and Barack Obama White Houses died last Friday after the private business jet that the prominent Washington attorney was on experienced stability issues and encountered severe turbulence mid-flight.
The National Transportation Safety Board has since started investigating “a reported trim issue that occurred prior to the in-flight upset” that affected the plane’s altitude control and may have caused the instability.
Dana Hyde, 55, was returning to Maryland from a trip in New England with her husband, Jonathan Chambers, and one of her sons where they were visiting schools, the Washington Post reported.
They flew on a Bombardier aircraft owned by the Kansas City-based rural broadband consulting firm Conexon, where Chambers is a partner, from Keene, New Hampshire, to Leesburg, Virginia, before the plane was diverted to Bradley international airport in Connecticut.
In an email to employees and clients, Chambers described that “the plane suddenly convulsed in a manner that violently threw the three of us”, adding that Hyde was “badly injured, the Washington Post reported. Hyde was taken to a hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, where she was pronounced dead. The chief medical examiner’s office declared she had suffered from blunt-force injuries, the Associated Press reported.
Hyde grew up in rural eastern Oregon before she became an attorney who worked as a counsel on the 9/11 Commission investigating the deadly World Trade Center terrorist attack. She spent time as a special assistant during Clinton’s administration and then as a senior adviser in the US state department during Obama’s presidency.
She went on to become an associate director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Most recently, she served as co-chairperson for the Aspen Partnership for an Inclusive Economy in 2020 and 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,” an Aspen spokesperson, Jon Purves, said in a statement. “The thoughts of our entire Aspen Institute community are with Dana’s family and loved ones.”
Aviation investigators expect to learn more about the circumstances of Hyde’s death after “they analyze information from the flight data recorder, cockpit voice recorder and other sources of information like weather data”, the NTSB tweeted. A preliminary report on the incident is expected in two to three weeks.
Last year, the Federal Aviation Administration told pilots of 678 aircraft, including the Bombardier BD-100-1A10 flown last week, to take time to check the pitch trim before flights. Officials found multiple times in which the aircraft’s nose turned downward after the plane climbed in the air.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, between 2009 and 2020, just 30 people were injured as a result of turbulence during flights, and no one died, making mid-flight deaths from turbulence an extreme rarity, the Association Press reported.
Plans are for Hyde’s funeral to be in Israel, where Chambers said his wife worked and “fell in love with the country, the language, and the people”.
“Dana was the best person I ever knew,” Chambers wrote in the email to Conexon associates. “She was a wonderful mother to our boys and she was accomplished professionally.
“She loved and was beloved.”