|Learjet 35 N47BA Prior to crash | Source|
It was on that last Monday of October when Stewart boarded the private plane — Registration No. N47BA — at Orlando International Airport along with his agents Robert Fraley, 46, and Van Ardan, 45, golf course designer Bruce Borland, 40, pilot Michael Kling, 42, and co-pilot Stephanie Bellegarrigue, 27, for a two-hour flight to Love Field in Dallas.
But 14 minutes after takeoff, approximately 37,000 feet above northwestern Florida, Jacksonville Air Traffic Control lost contact with N47BA, setting off a chain of events that included three separate military responses by F-16 fighter jets. The National Transportation Safety Board released a 31-page report on the crash Nov. 28, 2000 and investigators concluded that the probable cause was “incapacitation of the flight crewmembers as a result of their failure to receive supplemental oxygen following a loss of cabin pressurization, for undetermined reasons.”
|Payne Stewart Jumps Payne Stewart at the 1989 Open |
Championship at Royal Troon by Lawrence Levy
Stewart was born in Springfield, Missouri, and attended Greenwood Laboratory School, a K-12 school, on the campus of Missouri State University. He graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta. He was always popular with fans, especially for his distinctive clothing, and was reputed to have the biggest wardrobe of all professional golfers.
He was a favorite of photographers because of his flamboyant attire of ivy caps and patterned pants, which were a cross between plus fours (trousers that extend 4 inches (10 cm) below the knee (and thus four inches longer than traditional knickerbockers, hence the name)) and knickerbockers, a throwback to the once-commonplace golf “uniform.” Stewart was also admired for having one of the most gracefully fluid and stylish golf swings of the modern era.