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Hudson man was among occupants of crashed Cirrus aircraft

These images of the Cirrus SR20 aircraft appear on the manufacturer's web site.1 / 2
Brett Weller was a passenger in the single-engine plane that crashed Friday night north of Menomonie.2 / 2

MENOMONIE -- A single-engine airplane that crashed in Menomonie Friday night, killing three people, was being flown by a Houlton couple and claimed the life of a Hudson man, Brett R. Weller, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported late Saturday afternoon.

Weller, a former president of the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau, worked locally as an account manager with the Wausau-based Kinziegreen Marketing Group. He joined the firm in July, 2008, according to a business news item published in the Hudson Star-Observer.

Weller is survived his wife, Mary and a daughter, Maggie.

Weller worked with regional companies to execute advertising, marketing and public relations strategies. For the past 12 years, Weller served as marketing and sales manager, telecommunications manager and account manager for The Resco Company in Hudson. Prior to that, he was a sales agent for eight years with Northwestern Mutual Life Company. Weller has been active in various community organizations including past president of the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau.

He held a degree in business administration and organizational communication from UW-Eau Claire.

Weller, 43, married the former Mary Finn in the fall of 2008, according to a marriage license published in the Star-Observer.

The Cirrus SR20 in which he was riding was registered to Laurence and Vicki Berg of Houlton. The aircraft went down about 9:45 p.m., Friday in the town of Tainter, about four miles north of Menomonie.

The plane is one of 750 of the same type registered nationally and 14 in Wisconsin.

The plane was traveling from Sheboygan to New Richmond and crashed at about 9:44 p.m. in a field and wooded area just east of highway 25 near 770th Avenue in Dunn County.

Officials with the Dunn County Sheriff's Department have not yet confirmed the names of the victims.

More details will be posted when they become available.

The Cirrus airplane which crashed was released in 1998 and was deemed innovative by the aviation industry because it carried a parachute system capable of carrying victims to a survival landing in the event of emergency.

Cirrus' web site describes the SR20 this way:

"The SR20's Continental engine puts 200-hp of power at the pilot's fingertips, and its redesigned longer wing gives pilots greater climb performance than ever before. The plane boasts a spacious 49-inch-wide cabin that will keep all occupants relaxed in an atmosphere of lavish ergonomic seating and a superior climate-controlled environment. Oversized doors allow for easy entry and exit, while the unique rear window brings in additional light to create a brighter, more comfortable ambient environment. Luxurious leather seats surround pilot and passengers, making even longer flights a relaxing experience.

The site describes the on-board rescue system this way:

"The Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS™), standard equipment on every Cirrus aircraft, is indicative of the visionary commitment to general aviation safety. The parachute system is designed to protect occupants in the event of an emergency by lowering the aircraft to the ground after deployment. CAPS™ revolutionized general aviation safety by providing an additional measure of safety to occupants, similar in theory to the role of airbags in automobiles. No other certified general aviation aircraft manufacturer in the world provides this safety feature as standard equipment.

In the event of an in-flight emergency, pulling the red CAPS™ handle on the ceiling inside the cockpit deploys a solid-fuel rocket out a hatch that covers the concealed compartment where the parachute is stored. As the rocket carries the parachute rearward from the back of the airplane, the embedded CAPS™ airplane harness straps release from the fuselage. Within seconds, the 55' diameter canopy will unfurl, controlling the aircraft rate of descent. The final landing is absorbed by the specialized landing gear, a roll cage and Cirrus Energy Absorbing Technology (CEAT™) seats.