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Lawsuit Filed in Plane’s Crash into Car

August 29, 1990

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) _ A novice pilot with a ″Top Gun″ fixation buzzed a swimming pool and performed acrobatic stunts before crashing a plane into a car, killing himself and the car’s driver, according to a lawsuit.

Brian Knox, 18, of Auburn, N.H., had made his first solo flight the day before the fiery crash Aug. 3 in Northampton County, says the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Northampton County Court by Rella and Anthony Sisonick, parents of Jonelle Sisonick, 23, whose car was struck as she backed out of a driveway.

The defendants included Knox’s estate and the American Flight Academy of Allentown, which owned the Cessna 150L airplane and taught Knox to fly.

The suit contends the academy gave substandard instruction and failed to recognize and correct Knox’s hazardous attitude. It seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the loss of Miss Sisonick’s potential lifetime income and the pain that preceded her death.

Knox, who was scheduled to enter aviation engineering studies at the University of New Hampshire, had seen the Tom Cruise hit movie ″Top Gun″ about Navy pilots 50 times, according to the lawsuit.

Knox took off from Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton Airport and performed acrobatic maneuvers for an hour over the Palmer Lions Pool and his grandparents’ house, according to the suit.

The academy’s operations manager, Eric Zupolski, said he could not comment on pending litigation.

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