Meyer memorial service set for next Wednesday

? NTSB releases preliminary accident report; final report on probable cause will take up to a year. Memorial service is set for Dec. 29.

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By BILL DWYER

The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary accident report Dec. 10 on the plane crash that killed F. Richard Meyer II, 84, and Geraldine Meyer, 83. The report states that the Meyer's Cessna 310 crashed in a wooded area in Paeonian Springs, Va. during a second approach to the Leesburg Executive Airport at 12:09 p.m. on Nov. 24. According to the FAA, Richard Meyers had attempted one landing, and missed the approach. On the second approach the plane impacted 80-foot-tall hardwood trees five miles short of the runway. The wreckage path was 250 feet long. A post-crash fire consumed the fuselage. Weather conditions reported at the Leesburg airport eight minutes prior to the crash noted five-knot winds and overcast cloud layer at 300 feet. The Meyers were enroute to McClean, Va. to visit their daughter and son-in-law over Thanksgiving.

Richard Meyer had passed a flight physical in November, which is required of pilots every two years.

There is some speculation that the addition of a full instrument-landing system, which provides both horizontal and vertical (altitude) guidance, might have helped avoid this tragedy. The Leesburg airport has a system to provide horizontal guidance to pilots flying an instrument-panel approach, but does not yet provide vertical guidance. Such a system is currently being installed by the FAA. According to the NTSB, the elevation at the crash site was 717 feet above sea level. The airport at which the Meyers attempted to land was 389 feet above sea level.

A memorial service for the Meyers, who were married 62 years ago, will be held at 3:30 p.m., Dec. 29 at First Presbyterian Church of River Forest, 7551 Quick Ave. Following that service, the family will hold a reception from 5 to 7 p.m., at a location to be announced at the church. All who attend the service will be invited to the reception.

The Meyer family is asking that donations be made in lieu of flowers to either the Rush University Medical Center Women's Board, 1725 W. Harrison St., Suite 545, Chicago 60612, or the Naples Community Hospital Healthcare Foundation, P.O. Box 234, Naples Fla. 34106.

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