The Johnsons are a great family. The parents and their son will be missed by many in this state.
Eden Prairie couple, son die in Lincoln County plane crash
Chuck Haga and Myron P. Medcalfstar Tribune Staff Writers
December 13, 2005
A Twin Cities-area couple and one of their sons died when their small airplane crashed into a plowed field in rural Lincoln County in western Minnesota Sunday night as they returned home from a family birthday celebration.
The four-seat Cirrus SR22 – manufactured by Duluth-based Cirrus Design Corp. – crashed about 9 p.m. east of Ivanhoe.
Arthur B. Johnson, 78, and his wife, Maryann P. Johnson, 77, of Eden Prairie, were killed. Their son, Mark A. Johnson, 50, of Chaska, was the pilot.
David Johnson, Mark’s brother, said the three were leaving Wayne, Neb., after attending a birthday party for Arthur’s sister and were headed toward Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie.
David said his brother and parents stayed in Wayne Friday and Saturday because of poor weather conditions. He said all three were strong Christians and devoted members of their churches. Mark was a member of Excelsior Covenant Church, and his parents were members of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Deephaven.
Mark helped start Southwest Christian High School in Chaska as a member of the school’s board of trustees. He was an attorney and real estate developer. His father owned ABJ Enterprises, a commercial construction company.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators were on the scene Monday.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said the plane’s signature parachute deployed, but it was unclear whether the plane’s internal explosive charge released it or the chute opened when the plane crashed.
Bill King, a Cirrus vice president, said the company has a team at the crash site.
“Our duty now is … to try to help identify the cause of this accident, to get answers for the family” of the victims, King said. Asked whether the parachute could have deployed as a result of a crash, King said, “That could have happened.”
Cirrus has become a major player in the manufacture of small airplanes in the six years since it started production of the sleek SR22, which comes with an airframe parachute designed to float the entire plane to the ground in an emergency.
The company was dogged by a rash of early accidents, including at least nine crashes killing more than a dozen people. The first fatality was company pilot Scott Anderson, who died in a March 1999 test flight.
But Cirrus also has logged “five deployments of parachutes where people walked away,” King said. “It’s been many, many months since we’ve had to deal with anything like this.”
Questions were raised after earlier crashes about whether pilots had been adequately trained to fly the SR22.
“The airplanes are very technical airplanes,” King said, but it will take intensive analysis by investigators to determine whether training, pilot error or technical failure is to blame in this crash.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.