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Ashland County plane crashed in loop maneuver attempt, preliminary report says

The Marengo, Wisconsin, plane crash killed siblings Aaron and Aleah Mika of Marengo on the afternoon of Oct. 23.

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The main wreckage of the Oct. 23, 2021, plane crash in Marengo, Wisconsin. Contributed / National Transportation Safety Board

The Ashland County plane crash that killed two siblings in October occurred when the pilot attempted an aerodynamic loop maneuver, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

According to the report, pilot Aaron Mika, 29, of Marengo, called his sister-in-law about five minutes before the accident, at approximately 2:35 p.m. Oct. 23, telling her to wait outside because he intended to fly over her house in Marengo. The plane, an American Champion Aircraft 8KCAB, reportedly flew at a low altitude over the sister-in-law's home several times before attempting the loop.

On-site examination determined the airplane’s right wing leading edge hit the roof of a house before the fuselage hit the ground in a nose-down pitch. The report did not say whether the house belonged to the sister-in-law. The airplane hit the ground during the descent portion of the loop.

The main wreckage came to rest in the house's backyard on a north heading. It consisted of the fuselage, empennage, engine and propeller. Both wings separated from the upper fuselage during impact and were found about 20 feet north of the main wreckage. The report stated there was no evidence of a mechanical malfunction or failure.

A short video clip taken by a witness moments before the crash was used to determine that the two-blade propeller on the plane was about 2,400 revolutions per minute.

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Mika's sister, Aleah Mika, 21, of Marengo, was a passenger in the plane. Both were killed. The plane departed from Ashland, and its intended destination was Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

The NTSB continues to investigate the crash and will release its final report at a later date.

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Bygones is researched and written by David Ouse, retired reference librarian from the Duluth Public Library. He can be contacted at djouse49@gmail.com.