Tuesday, June 13, 2006

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Michael A. Dornheim, an award-winning journalist who worked for Aviation Week & Space Technology, died at 51.

His body was found Monday in a wrecked car that plunged off a mountain road. He had been missing for more than a week.

Mr. Dornheim disappeared the evening of June 3 after dining with friends at a restaurant about a half-hour from his home. He had told the friends he intended to drive home by a less-traveled route.

A Los Angeles County helicopter crew spotted Mr. Dornheim’s car Monday afternoon off the road in the Santa Monica Mountains, between coastal Malibu and inland Calabasas, police said. The car was overturned 300 feet to 400 feet below the road.

Police said the death appeared accidental. An investigation was continuing.

Mr. Dornheim was a senior engineer on the aerodynamics staff at the Boeing Co. before he joined the editorial staff of Aviation Week in 1984. He also was a private pilot.

He received the 1994 Aviation/Space Writers Association Award of Excellence for stories on the space shuttle. He also was a three-time winner of the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Aerospace Journalist of the Year awards, which cited his coverage of aviation news, aerospace technology and air safety.

“When it comes to things that fly — whether in the atmosphere or in space — no one could explain better than Mike Dornheim how things worked, or more importantly, why they didn’t,” said Jim Asker, Aviation Week magazine’s managing editor.

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