Chicago, IL Airplane Crash, Dec 1978

3 dead, 1 hurt in plane crash; ice on wings possible cause.

By Paul Marcotte
Three persons were killed and a fourth critically injured Sunday when a single-engine plane crashed in a wooded area one mile south of Pal-Waukee Airport.

The four-seat Beechcraft Bonanza had passed the airport from the north and was turning southeast for a final approach when it went down at about 5 p. m. in Allison Woods Forest Preserve south of Wheeling, said STUART LEWIS, a Federal Aviation Administration duty officer for the Chicago area.

LEWIS said the pilot was flying from London, Ky., to Crystal Lake and diverted to Pal-Waukee because of poor weather conditions and because Pal-Waukee Airport had instrument landing approach facilities.

Killed were ARTHUR A. DOUMAKES, 48, of 99 Old Oak, Barrington, believed to be the pilot; KEVIN MOELLER, 27, of 100 S. Brockway, Palatine, and his wife MARY, 24.

DOUMAKES' wife, DOROTHY, 48, was in critical condition in Evanston Hospital where she had been transferred from Glenbrook Hospital in Glenview.

Before the crash, Pal-Waukee control tower officials received a report from the pilot of ice forming on the plane's wings.
LEWIS said the airport's glide slope, a navigational device that determines the height of an aircraft, was not operating but he did not believe it contributed to the accident.

"If there is ice on the wings of a small aircraft, it makes it very hazardous because he (the pilot) can't shake it off," and loses control, LEWIS said.

WILLIAM McGRATH, 1907 Maya Ln., Mount Prospect, was walking his dog outside of his house when he saw the plane go down.

"The pilot was at about 300 feet when in the middle of his turn his wings started to wobble up and down and he dropped about 100 feet. He got the plane up about where it was before and then it went straight down," he said.

McGRATH said he didn't hear the engine sputtering and said it seemed the engine was operating when the plane crashed.
ROBERT SMITH 2870 Milwaukee Ave., Northbrook, a Cook County forest ranger, lives in a house in the woods about a quarter mile from the crash and discovered the plane about 15 minutes after it went down near the River Trail Nature Center.

"I was in the kitchen and heard a bump. At first I thought it was a snowmobile or truck going over a bridge, but then we got a call saying a plane was down."

It appears as though the plane sliced off the top of a tree before crashing, authorities at the scene said.

Daily Herald Chicago Illinois 1978-12-04