Friday, October 19, 2012

Aeropro Cz A240, N72AH: Accident occurred October 15, 2012 in Half Moon Bay, California

NTSB Identification: WPR13FA013 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, October 15, 2012 in Half Moon Bay, CA
Aircraft: AEROPRO CZ A240, registration: N72AH
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On October 15, 2012, about 0600 Pacific daylight time a light sport, Aeropro CZ A240, N72AH, impacted terrain near Half Moon Bay, California. The sport pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The pilot sustained fatal injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage during the accident sequence, and was consumed by a post impact fire. The cross-country personal flight departed Half Moon Bay Airport (HAF), in Half Moon Bay, California with a planned destination of Apple Valley Airport, Apple Valley, California. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The airplane did not reach its destination at its expected time, and became the subject of an Alert Notice (ALNOT). A search was conducted by the Civil Air Patrol and the Coast Guard, and the airplane was subsequently located the morning of October 16. The wreckage was located about 400 yards west of HAF on a west facing slope. The slope was part of a ridge line that overlooked and paralleled the runway at HAF.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and an inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration examined the wreckage at the accident scene. The first identified point of contact (FIPOC) was a pattern of broken and displaced brush and limbs about 35 feet in length. Paralleling the pattern was a narrow swath about 15 feet in length. A red colored lens assembly was found near the (FIPOC). The pattern and swath led uphill to the principle impact crater (PIC) which was about 5 feet in diameter. Multiple propeller blade fragments were found near the PIC. The main wreckage was found further uphill surrounded by undamaged trees and bushes about 10 feet in height. Thermal damage was contained only to the main wreckage and was not found in the debris path.

An automated surface weather observation at HAF, (elevation 66 feet msl, about 1/4 mile west of the accident site). It indicated wind from 360 degrees at 6 knots, 3/4 miles visibility, mist, with an overcast ceiling at 300 feet, temperature at 13 degrees C, dew point 13 degrees C, and an altimeter setting at 30.08 inches of mercury.

Charles Russo
A salvage crew worker removes the tail fin of Andrew Charles Hayden's crashed airplane, along the bluffs in Moss Beach in California.

Officials have identified an airplane that crashed Monday morning on the bluffs at Pillar Point in Moss Beach as that of 75-year-old Andrew Charles Hayden, better known as “Andy.” 

 The Punta Gorda, Florida, resident took off Monday morning from Half Moon Bay Airport with the intention of meeting his 79-year-old cousin, Ken Sowles, at the Marana Regional Airport in Tucson. At the time, Hayden was finishing a 6,000-mile trip to visit friends and family across various states before heading home to Florida.

Hayden’s wife reported the plane missing that evening, and search and rescue teams were dispatched. The plane was found Tuesday morning by a San Mateo County Parks ranger. The San Mateo County Coroner’s Office identified Hayden on Wednesday.

Cause of death has not been confirmed, but the coroner's investigation suggests Hayden may have died before the plane crashed, said Sowles. San Mateo County Coroner Robert Fourcrault has said in published reports that the condition of the remains preclude a full examination.

Sowles remembered Hayden as his best friend, a good man who was quiet and focused and cared a lot about his family. He also remembered a man with a penchant for adventure.

“He went out of this world in a blaze the way he came into this world in a blaze. He was always pushing the envelope,” Sowles said.

They were the types of cousins who didn’t have to talk every day to stay close. Whenever they got together, they had fun.

Riding horses on an Arizona ranch, surfing in Hawaii or piloting his own plane cross-country were all activities that were part of just another day in the life of Hayden.

Though Hayden seldom spoke of it, he was highly decorated as a young man when he served as a member of the U.S. Navy SEAL team.

“I would classify him as a hero in my mind,” said Sowles.

Hayden got his first taste of ocean life as he grew up in a seafaring family, and after his days as a SEAL, he built a sailboat and traveled by himself all over the Pacific. Skydiving – a skill he picked up in the Navy – was another pastime Hayden enjoyed.

“We didn’t do those things anymore, but these are the kinds of things we used to reminisce about, joke about,” said Sowles.

When visiting his cousin’s ranch in Arizona, Hayden would take to the land as easily as the sea.

“He’d become a cowboy real quick. We’d go off and get in a little trouble every now and then as kids do,” said Sowles, reflecting on their youth.

They also bonded in the air.

“When he got into airplanes, we had even more of a common denominator,” said Sowles, a former bush pilot.

Despite being constantly in motion, Hayden was a man with whom Sowles could sit down, talk and have a beer.

Besides Sowles, Hayden was the oldest of his generation on that side of their family. They kept up the family’s history.

Hayden is survived by his daughter, a Bay Area resident, and his wife.

Plans for services are pending.


  Regis#: N72AH        Make/Model: A240      Description: AEROPRO CZ
  Date: 10/15/2012     Time: 1230

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Fatal     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Destroyed

  City: HALF MOON BAY   State: CA   Country: US


INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   1
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   1     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: OAKLAND, CA  (WP27)                   Entry date: 10/17/2012 

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