Burr Ridge pilot killed in Kansas plane crash

Illinois pilot killed in Kansas plane crash

Talented and widely admired airshow pilot Vlado Lenoch and airport manager Bethany Root died in the crash of a P-51D Mustang at about 10:15 a.m. Sunday Jul. 16, 2017, in Atchison County, Kansas after departing the Amelia Earhart Airport at approximately 10:00 AM.

The Atchison County Sheriff's Office responded to a crash reported at 10:18 a.m. near 234th and Ness Road in Atchison County. Two people were inside that small plane when the crash happened. The other was a passenger in the plane. The pilot, 64-year-old Vlado Lenoch of Buff Ridge, Illinois, and the only passenger, 34-year-old Bethany Root of Atchison, Kansas, were both killed in the crash.

The cause of the crash is unknown.

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The fatal accident came just a day after a fly-in at Amelia Earhart Airport in Atchison. Lenoch was a stunt pilot involved in the fly-in, which was held as part of the Amelia Earhart Festival that drew thousands to the area.

"It was a high-speed plane crash", said Lt. Bryce Whelpley with the Kansas Highway Patrol. In several Facebook posts over the years, Lenoch said that he had flown in the Chicago Air & Water Show. He was was married and had three children, according to his profile on the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation website.

"She was extremely passionate about flying", Jacque Pregont, who coordinated the Emelia Earhart Festival, said Sunday. She had been a special education teacher in inner city charter schools in Indianapolis and ran a custom motorcycle shop in Indianapolis until she took an opportunity to learn to fly and work with the McElwain crop dusters in Kansas and Missouri. No residents were injured. Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration were expected to arrive on the scene this morning.

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