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Pilot's sons surprised by plane crash that killed Hibbing man

Wayne Monson was a man who loved God, family and his children. That's how Brandon Monson of Virginia described his father Thursday, the day after Monson, 53, died in a plane crash in Eden Prairie, Minn. Monson, who lived part time in Hibbing, was...

Wayne Monson was a man who loved God, family and his children.

That's how Brandon Monson of Virginia described his father Thursday, the day after Monson, 53, died in a plane crash in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Monson, who lived part time in Hibbing, was living and working in Osceola, Wis., when he died. Brandon and his two brothers were waiting for Monson in Osceola when their father's plane went down Wednesday morning near the Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie. After hours had passed and their father didn't arrive, Brandon called the airport only to be told his father's plane had crashed.

He said he was shocked; he knew the plane had been checked recently, and no mechanical problems were reported. The 19-year old said he thinks something must have been missed in those safety checks.

Monson reported nothing unusual in a radio transmission before the crash, a federal investigator said Thursday. He had requested permission to perform a few landings and takeoffs before heading to Osceola, said Pam Sullivan, a senior air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board.

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Sullivan told the Star Tribune that a female student pilot also was in the 1958 twin-engine Beechcraft 18. The Hennepin County medical examiner's office identified the two in the plane as Monson and a 29-year-old Apple Valley woman known both as Rivka Chayka-Lev and Iryna Chayka. The office said autopsies indicate both died in the crash.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said the plane had left the airport when it turned around, tried to return to the airport and crashed.

Witnesses told investigators the plane failed to gain much altitude.

Monson had extensive aviation experience, but not with the plane he was flying, his son Brandon said Thursday. Brandon said his father bought the plane a year ago and repaired it on his own.

"He was fixing it up to take it on vacations during the summer," Brandon Monson said.

Jedidiah Domeier, a flight instructor who knew Monson from the Eveleth-Virginia Municipal Airport where they shared ownership of a small plane, said Monson was "very safe, very smart, very good at what he did."

The last time Domeier saw Monson was six months ago.

"He was thinking of leaving that morning and the weather was a little iffy, so I talked to him about the weather," Domeier said. "He decided to play it safe and stay here."

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Brandon said his dad worked hard but he also took plenty of time off to spend with his family.

Just last week Monson and his three sons flew out of the Eveleth-Virginia airport for a trip to Yellowstone.

Now that his father is gone, Brandon said he and his brothers aren't sure how to move forward because they've always modeled their lives after their dad.

Monson was born in Mankato, Minn., grew up in south-central Minnesota and was living in Osceola and Hibbing, said Brandon's mother, Sylvia Monson.

Monson's funeral will take place at the First Assembly of God Church in Hibbing. A date and time is yet to be announced.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Related Topics: CRASHESHIBBING
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