Galt Airport owner killed in Wonder Lake plane crash

Claude Sonday, of Woodstock, suits up in preparation to fly his 1941 Stearman at the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. The Stearman's original purpose was a military training plane for World War II.

Galt Airport owner Claude Sonday was identified Wednesday as the man killed in a single-plane crash on Friday in Wonder Lake.

Sonday, of Bull Valley, was the plane’s pilot and sole occupant, according to news releases from the McHenry County coroner and sheriff’s offices.

“Words cannot fully express our profound sadness at the loss of our friend and owner of Galt Airport, Claude Sonday,” airport officials posted on its Facebook page. “He will be missed greatly by all who knew him.”

He was pronounced dead at the scene and an autopsy was performed Tuesday, the coroner’s office said. Toxicology is currently pending.

Emergency responders — including the McHenry Township, Harvard, Wonder Lake, Richmond and Spring Grove fire departments as well as the sheriff and coroner’s office — were dispatched at 5:15 p.m. Friday to the crash, which involved a model EA-300LC, according to the sheriff’s office release.

McHenry County Sheriff’s Office contacted the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration to continue the investigation, according to the release.

The aircraft was moved to an offsite facility for further analysis, a National Transportation Safety Board spokesperson said, adding that a preliminary report should be completed in two to three weeks.

The probable cause of the crash won’t be shared until the final report, which can take 12 to 24 months to be completed, the spokesman said.

Sonday and his wife, Diane, purchased Galt Airport — known to regulars by its FAA designation of 10C, or “One Zero Charlie” — in 2013.

The couple, who had owned the Harley-Davidson stores in Woodstock and McHenry, told the Northwest Herald at the time they didn’t plan to someday own the airport, but as regulars since 1981, they couldn’t imagine a new owner changing the airport’s feel or driving away the tight-knit community that uses it.

Claude and Diane Sonday of Bull Valley bought Galt Airport in June at a foreclosure auction and have been making improvements including sealing and marking the 2800-foot runway, taxiway and  hanger aprons.