Weather may have been a factor in the plane crash that killed MyMichigan Health President and CEO Diane Postler-Slattery and her husband Donald Slattery, according to the National Transportation and Safety Board.
On March 8, Postler-Slattery and her husband’s plane crashed while attempting to land under cloud cover at Northern Florida Beaches International Airport in Panama City, Florida. The Cessna 182Q single-engine plane crashed in a wooded area one mile north of the airport runway.
Don Slattery was the sole pilot of the personal flight.
According to the report, FAA air traffic control communications reveal that the Slatterys departed Jack Barstow Airport (IKW) in Midland and arrived at Warren County Memorial Airport (RNC) in McMinnville, Tennessee around 4 p.m. CST. After arriving in Tennessee, receipts show Slattery fueled up to go to Florida. The couple then departed at 4:54 p.m. and arrived in the dark, nearly 3 hours later, at Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP).
Slattery was in contact with Tyndall Air Force Base according to a review of preliminary air traffic control communications. The controller cleared him to land.
Slattery was ordered to radio the air traffic control tower at the ECP. He informed them that he was coming. The controller acknowledged and then provided the weather conditions at the airport, which included wind 150° at 6 knots, visibility 2 miles and fog with an overcast ceiling at 200 feet above the ground.
Slattery then said, “200 covered, we’ll try and see if we can get her down.”
The controller then radioed back about a minute later to tell Slattery that his altitude was low. Slattery said “affirmative.”
Then the controller advised that Slattery was deviating from the flight path. An FAA review of flight tracking data shows that the Cessna flies right and left of the runway centreline.
The controller went on to say, “One more thing and I won’t transmit anymore. There are other airports nearby with better weather conditions. To which Slattery replied, “Okay, we’ll try that down to the minimum and go around if necessary.” Minimums meaning he was trying to close in on the runway.
Not even a minute later, the controller reached out to Slattery again. “It looks like you’re drifting a bit to the right,” they said. Then repeated, “it looks like you are drifting to the right.”
There was no further communication after this from Slattery despite several attempts by the controller. The controller alerted airport operations to a possible plane crash.
Don Slattery had a private pilot’s license. He logged 691 flight hours, including 569 in the accident aircraft. Its last flight overhaul dates back to June 2021.
The accident investigation will continue with a final report taking a year or more.
Postler-Slattery, 62, became president and CEO of MyMichigan Health in January 2013. Previously, she served as president and CEO of Aspirus Wausau Hospital and senior vice president of quality and services. extended for the Aspirus system. She had a doctorate. in Educational Administration from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, as well as a Master of Nursing Science/Nursing Administration and Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.
Diane and Don are survived by their three children and five grandchildren.