MARENGO – The plane operated by prominent activist and atheist Robert I. Sherman crashed after a "loss of control" minutes after takeoff, National Transportation Safety Board investigators said.
Sherman's home-built plane crashed about 6:19 p.m. Dec. 9, just seven minutes after taking off, according to a preliminary report published Thursday. The plane was discovered Saturday morning in a field off Meyer Road just north of Pleasant Grove Road in Marengo. There were no witnesses to the crash, the report said.
The 63-year-old, identified after a forensic dental examination, died from multiple injuries from the airplane crash, the McHenry County Coroner's Office said earlier this week.
The certified sport pilot departed Poplar Grove on Friday evening, intending to travel to the Schaumburg Regional Airport to attend an Experimental Aircraft Association holiday party.
There was no communication between air traffic control and Sherman, the report said. The time of departure and time of the crash were based on preliminary air traffic control radar data.
The left main landing gear was located about 190 feet southeast of the main wreckage, part of the right wing was located about 100 feet southeast, and a small satchel bag was located about 500 feet south, the report said.
Sherman was a Green Party candidate for Illinois' 5th Congressional District in the fall and announced plans to run for the 12th Congressional District in 2018. He was very passionate about taking on separation of church and state issues, as well as other battles in the Chicago area.
He also operated a builder assist center, called Rob Sherman Airplanes, at Poplar Grove Airport, according to the business’s website.
Sherman is survived by his wife, Celeste Sherman, and two children. A memorial will be held from 3 to 9 p.m. Dec. 22 at the Schaumburg Regional Airport, 905 W. Irving Park Road, Schaumburg.