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Woman killed on turbulent flight over New England was returning from school visits with son, husband

A Maryland woman who was killed on board a business jet that encountered severe turbulence over New England on Friday was a prominent executive who served in the Clinton and Obama administrations and as counsel to the 9/11 Commission.

Five people were on board the Bombardier Challenger 300 on a flight from Keene, N.H., to Leesburg, Va., when the jet was shaken by turbulence and forced to land at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut, officials said.

Dana Hyde, 55, of Cabin John, Md., was rushed from the airport to Saint Francis Medical Center in Hartford, where she was pronounced dead.

Dana J. Hyde.LinkedIn

Hyde was flying with her husband, Jonathan Chambers, a partner at Conexon, a Kansas City-based company that owns the plane, according to a company spokesperson. Their son was also on the flight but neither he nor Chambers were injured, the company said.


The family was returning home after taking their son to visit schools in New England last week, according to a message Chambers sent to Conexon employees and clients on Monday, which the company shared with the Globe.

Chambers wrote lovingly of his wife, whom he described as a successful professional and a “wonderful mother to our two boys.”

“Dana was the best person I ever knew,” Chambers wrote.

Chambers said Hyde was born in rural Eastern Oregon and “came from nothing.” He said she worked her way through college and law school before working in the White House under the two administrations, as well as the Justice Department, State Department, Office and Management and Budget, and became the chief executive of the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

“Dana approached these jobs with love,” Chambers wrote. “Her desire to help people was evident in her career choices. She was understandably proud of the work of the MCC investing in the infrastructure of underdeveloped nations in Africa and Asia. She loved and was beloved.”


Hyde had been affiliated with the Aspen Institute, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. She was a part-time consultant and in that role served as co-chair of the Aspen Partnership for an Inclusive Economy from 2020 to 2021, the group said in a statement.

“During her time with us, Dana was a brilliant and generous colleague who worked closely with programs across the organization to build partnerships and enhance our collective work,” the institute said.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation is an independent government agency working to reduce global poverty through economic growth, according to Hyde’s LinkedIn page.

“MCC is deeply saddened by the news of Dana Hyde’s death,” the corporation said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with her family during this difficult time.”

In her eight years in the Obama administration, she also served as associate director at the Office of Management and Budget and senior adviser to the deputy secretary of state, according to an online biography.

On Monday, investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said they are looking into “a reported trim issue” that occurred on the jet before the turbulence. Trim issues happen when a plane “unintentionally exceeds the parameters normally experienced in line operations or training,” according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Trim systems are considered to be a “secondary” flight control system, according to SKYbrary Aviation Safety. A malfunctioning trim control switch or other electrical component “can cause the trim motor to run out of control, ultimately moving the trim surfaces to dangerous positions,” according to Plane & Pilot Magazine.


It was not clear how Hyde died. In his message Monday, Chambers described the violent turbulence they experienced on the flight.

“We were returning home when the plane suddenly convulsed in a manner that violently threw the three of us,” he wrote. “My wife was badly injured. The pilots made an emergency landing. An ambulance was waiting. Dana was taken to a hospital, but the injuries were too severe and she died that night.”

A preliminary report from NTSB is expected within the next two to three weeks.

“They will continue to learn more after they analyze information from the flight data recorder, cockpit voice recorder and other sources of information like weather data,” the agency said in a statement.

Turbulence is “air movement created by atmospheric pressure, jet streams, air around mountains, cold or warm weather fronts or thunderstorms,” according to the FAA.

“It can be unexpected and can happen when the sky appears to be clear,” according to the FAA. “Turbulence can give an airplane a sudden jolt that can injure passengers and flight crew members who aren’t buckled in.”

Turbulence-related accidents, according to a 2021 NTSB report, are “the most common type of accident involving air carriers.”

Funeral services for Hyde will be held in Israel, where she spent a year working and studying in college, Chambers said.


“Dana fell in love with the country, the language, and the people. So, we have decided to lay her to rest in that special place,” he wrote.

Travis Andersen of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

Shannon Larson can be reached at Follow her @shannonlarson98. Nick Stoico can be reached at Follow him @NickStoico.