14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 02, 2013 in Oceano, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/20/2015
Aircraft: LUSCOMBE 8A, registration: N45923
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
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.
Witnesses reported that they observed the airplane flying low above the beach before it ascended abruptly. When the airplane was about 150 to 200 feet above the ground, the ascent stopped, and the airplane then descended in a nose low attitude to ground impact. Witnesses also reported that the engine sounded normal during the accident sequence. Postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.
The pilot had a reported history of marijuana abuse. Toxicology testing on the pilot was positive for tetrahydrocannabinol at levels that indicate he was likely impaired during the flight. This impairment likely affected the pilot’s ability to maintain airplane control and his decision to begin a low-level flight maneuver at an altitude that was not sufficient for recovery before impact with the ground.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain airplane control and his improper decision to begin a low-level maneuver at an altitude that was not sufficient for recovery before ground impact. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s impairment from marijuana use.
HISTORY OF FLIGHT
On January 2, 2013, about 1605 Pacific standard time, a Luscombe 8A, N45923, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain about 2 miles south of the Oceano County Airport (L52), Oceano, California. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 local personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from L52 at an unknown time.
Witnesses reported that they observed the airplane flying low above the beach when it ascended abruptly. When the airplane was approximately 150-200 feet above the ground, it appeared to stop and descended abruptly before it impacted the sand dunes below. The witnesses did not see the initial impact, but they observed the airplane bounce. Witnesses reported that the engine sounded normal during the accident sequence.
At the time of the accident, the pilot, age 56, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single- and multi-engine land privileges. The pilot also held an airframe and powerplant mechanics certificate. The pilot's most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second class medical was issued on October 1, 2012 with the restriction that he must possess glasses for near and intermediate vision. During his examination, the pilot reported he had a total of 7,000 flight hours, 185 of which were within the six months preceding the examination. The pilot's logbooks were not located.
The two-seat, high-wing, fixed-gear airplane, serial number 2450, was manufactured in 1946. It was powered by a Continental Motors A-65-8, 65 horsepower engine and was equipped with a fixed-pitch propeller. The airplane's maintenance logbooks were not located.
The nearest weather reporting station, San Luis Obispo Regional Airport (SBP), located approximately 10 miles north of the accident site reported at 1756, calm wind, 10 statute miles of visibility, clear skies, temperature 17 degrees C, dewpoint -6 degrees C, and an altimeter reading of 30.08 inches of mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT
The wreckage debris path was approximately 720 feet long with a heading of about 19 degrees. The first identified point of impact was a divot on the ridge of a sand dune that was consistent with a tire mark. Almost immediately following the initial point of impact was an about 8 foot by 3 foot section of heavily disrupted sand, with three foot wide sliding marks extending toward an approximate 2 foot by 6 inch impact point. After the impact point, there was about 7 feet of undisturbed sand followed by the main wreckage, which was a total of about 120 feet beyond the first point of impact. The final piece of debris was a wheel that was located about 600 feet beyond the main wreckage on the other side of a second sand dune.
Examination of the main wreckage revealed that the airplane came to rest in a nose low attitude. The forward fuselage sustained extensive crush damage, and the cabin area came to rest on top of the engine. The aft fuselage and empennage were still attached by the airplane's belly skin; however, it was folded underneath the airplane's wings and came to rest inverted in the sand. The empennage sustained minimal damage. The left and right horizontal stabilizers had a different paint scheme from the rest of the yellow empennage and airframe. The wings were still attached to the cabin and mostly intact; both wings sustained leading edge crushing throughout. Evidence of corrosion was noted at the wing spar attachment points and scattered throughout the remainder of the airframe. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit controls to their respective flight control surfaces.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The autopsy was performed on the pilot by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff – Coroner Office in San Luis Obispo, California. The cause of death was sharp force injury and the autopsy noted that the pilot had an enlarged heart. Toxicology testing detected tetrahydrocannabinol in lung (0.0485 ug/ml), liver (0.011 ug/ml), and blood (0.0062 ug/ml). Tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid, was detected in urine (0.0965 ug/ml), liver (0.0369 ug/ml), blood (0.0067 ug/ml), and lung (0.0053 ug/ml).
The pilot had a history of cannabis abuse with a positive Department of Transportation required random test in 1999. The FAA had evaluated his history and determined him to be eligible for a second class medical certificate in 2003 and thereafter. Although additional random drug tests were recommended, they were not performed.
For more detailed information see the Medical Factual Report located in the accident docket.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
The engine was removed from the firewall and slung from a hoist. Initial visual inspection of the recovered engine revealed no visual anomalies. The cylinder rocker covers and spark plugs were removed; the spark plug electrode areas were consistent with 'worn out - normal' when compared to the Champion AV-27 chart. The valves were undamaged and contained no abnormal thermal discoloration. When the propeller was rotated by hand, thumb compression was established on all cylinders, all valves moved in sequence and had similar amounts of lift, and the accessory gears rotated. The carburetor was fracture separated at the throttle plate neck; both pieces of the carburetor were removed from the engine. Sand was found inside of the carburetor and was consistent with the sand on scene. Both the throttle and mixture levers moved freely from stop to stop when manipulated by hand. The carburetor bowl was removed; there was no fuel in the carburetor bowl or the undamaged metal float. The oil screen was removed and contained some carbon flakes.
NTSB Identification: WPR13FA083
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 02, 2013 in Oceano, CA
Aircraft: LUSCOMBE 8A, registration: N45923
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 January 2, 2013, about 1605 pacific standard time, a Luscombe 8A, N45923, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain about 2 miles south of the Oceano County Airport (L52), Oceano, California. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 local personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from L52 at an unknown time.
Witnesses reported that the airplane was circling and maneuvering at a low altitude around the beach area when they observed it ascend abruptly. Approximately 150-200 feet above the ground, the airplane appeared to stop, make a sharp turn and descend at an approximately 55 degree angle. The airplane appeared to start to level off when it impacted the top of a sand dune. Witnesses observed the airplane bounce before it went out of sight.
The airframe and engine have been moved to a secure location for further examination.
IDENTIFICATION Regis#: 45923 Make/Model: L8 Description: 8, T8, 50, MASTER, SILVAIRE, OBSERVER Date: 01/03/2013 Time: 0004 Event Type: Accident Highest Injury: Fatal Mid Air: N Missing: N Damage: Substantial LOCATION City: OCEANO State: CA Country: US DESCRIPTION AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, THE 1 PERSON ON BOARD WAS FATALLY INJURED, NEAR OCEANO, CA 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: OTHER DATA Activity: Unknown Phase: Unknown Operation: OTHER FAA FSDO: SAN JOSE, CA (WP15) Entry date: 01/03/2013
Oceano Dunes plane crash victim remembered for 'heart of gold'
The man who died in the Oceano Dunes while flying his single-engine vintage aircraft was “a consummate pilot” with “one of the biggest hearts you’d ever want to meet,” several friends said Thursday.
Glen Philip Ray, 56, died Wednesday following the 4:05 p.m. crash. The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office released his name Thursday, and said he died as a result of sharp force trauma injuries.
Ray, a Grover Beach resident, was the registered owner of the 1946 single-engine, two-seat Luscombe 8A that he was piloting on Wednesday afternoon. It’s still unknown from which airport Ray had departed and where he was headed.
Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash, with the NTSB taking the lead on the investigation. Further information about the cause is not expected until mid-January.
But one thing is clear — Ray loved to fly. He was the registered owner of two aircraft, the Luscombe and a 1939 single-engine Monocoupe 90A, according to an FAA registry.
Most of the photos on his Facebook page are of planes. During his life, friends said, he flew commercial cargo planes, restored planes and took side jobs working on all types of aircraft. And he flew daily, said friend Teri Bayus, who met Ray in 1998 when she owned a mailing and shipping business on Price Street.
“I know the plane he crashed he had been working on a long time,” she said.
Bayus and friend Frank Lindsay remembered Ray’s wonderful sense of humor, his “heart of gold,” and his love of bikes and beach volleyball.
For years, Ray shied away from owning a car, preferring to get around instead by bike.
For about 10 years, Ray lived on the Price Historical Park property, taking care of the grounds and ensuring that transients or curious teenagers didn’t damage the property, said Lindsay, former president of Friends of Price House.
At the same time, Ray helped homeless people living in Price Canyon fix their bikes, and in exchange they agreed to help keep an eye on the property, Lindsay said.
“We even had a Thanksgiving dinner out there for the homeless one year,” Lindsay said. “He was an amazing person who embraced everyone as being equal.”
Ray’s friends said he once worked for NASA, as a hydraulics engineer on the Space Shuttle Challenger project in the 1980s. A NASA spokesman said the agency doesn’t have readily available records to verify Ray’s work history.
Lindsay said Ray also served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Ray’s Facebook profile describes him as an “aerospace engineer, aerospace technologist, commercial heavy multiengine pilot, human power advocate, beach volleyball fanatic, luscombe lunatic, blue water sloop racing, and lover of life.”
“He was a Renaissance man,” Bayus said.
More recently, Ray had gone to the Santa Rosa area to care for his father, who was ill. He returned to San Luis Obispo County after his father died.
Ray is survived by a son, who lives in Northern California. Friends are planning to hold a service locally within the next week or two.
In the meantime, the NTSB will continue its work, with air safety investigator Howard Plagens studying the accident scene. Plagens will secure the scene, preserve any perishable evidence, collect all electronic devices and visually document the crash scene, said Eric Weiss, a NTSB spokesman.
A preliminary report will be filed 10 business days after the accident on the NTSB website but determining the likely cause of the plane crash could take more than a year, he said.
After the initial report is complete, a more extensive examination is done on the “man, the machine and the environment,” Weiss said. At the end, a clear picture of what exactly happened from when the flight took off to when it ended will emerge.
Though it’s still unknown where Ray planned to land, the aircraft was pointing toward the Oceano County Airport, said Craig Angello, whose family owns Angello’s ATV Rentals.
Angello is also a captain with the Five Cities Fire Authority but was not on duty when he heard information about the crash on a police scanner.
He responded to see if he could help. By the time he arrived, state parks rangers were on scene and performing CPR, he said. Firefighters with the Five Cities Fire Authority also responded.
Angello walked around the plane to make sure it wasn’t a fire hazard. He noticed the battery was located about 50 to 60 feet from the wreckage. The aircraft itself “was completely destroyed, folded in half essentially,” he said.
Story and Photos: http://www.sanluisobispo.com
Friends remember Grover Beach man killed in plane crash at Oceano Dunes
"We are desperately looking for the details from the FAA and the examiner so that we can piece together what happened because it is such a tragic loss for us all," said Jolie Lucas, cofounder of Friends of Oceano Airport.
The Central Coast aviation community mourns the loss of Glen Philip Ray, 56, who was killed Wednesday in a plane crash on the Oceano Dunes.
"He just loved flying that airplane," said Lucas, who was describing Ray's Luscombe 8A, a two-seater vintage tail dragger.
"He was at Oceano a lot at Lompoc and Santa Maria. Just having good fun," said Lucas.
He soared above the Central Coast a few times per week and friends said his talent and passion were sky-high.
"He was an exquisite mechanic, a very skilled pilot. He had a great sense of humanity and wonderful sense of humor," said Lucas.
Lucas said Ray was father and a brother.
"What comes to mind is the ear to ear smile. A lover of life. Loved to help you and would do anything for you," said Lucas.
Friends and family are left with many unanswered questions about the crash, but there is no question about his legacy.
"Glen would tell us to remember him with a smile on our face and to keep flying and loving aviation. And we didn't want to lose him, but he went out doing what he loves to do and that's flying that plane," said Lucas.
People headed to Pismo Beach Thursday afternoon to pay their respects to Ray.
Two investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board were at the Oceano Dunes Thursday trying to figure out what caused the deadly crash, but no information has been released.
Ray was the only person onboard the aircraft when it went down.
The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office said he died as a result of sharp force trauma injuries.
Story and Video: http://www.ksby.com
A single engine two seat plane went down just after 4 p.m. Wednesday on the
Oceano Dunes State Park south of Pismo Beach. Local Authorities confirm that the pilot was the only person on board, and he died on scene. The pilot's identity is not being released at this time.
CAL Fire, San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Department, the CHP and State Parks all responded. The plane was a single engine, Luscombe 8a - a two-seat high-wing plane designed in 1937.
Officer Tony Cippola of the San Luis Obispo Sheriffs Dept tells us the pilot did not die on impact. CPR was administered but was not successful.
Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, is a park in SLO County where dune buggies and motorcycles are ridden on the beach. The crash site was more than a mile inland from the beach with limited access-- it's in an area where recreational activity is not permitted
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating
Story, photo, reaction/comments: http://www.ksby.com
Story and reaction/comments: http://www.sanluisobispo.com
UPDATE 5:20 p.m.: The plane that crashed at the Oceano Dunes is a single-engine vintage Luscombe 8A, according Ian Gregor, FAA spokesman for the Pacific Division.
The pilot, the only person on board, died in the crash. His identity has not yet been released.
The plane crashed for unknown reasons into the sand dunes east of post 14 around 4 p.m.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the accident, with the NTSB acting as the lead investigative agency. Determining a cause for the accident could take months, Gregor said.
Original story: One person was killed after a two-seater aircraft crashed in the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area this afternoon.
A Cal Fire official confirmed that one person has died in the crash, which was reported about 4:10 p.m. No one else was in the aircraft when it went down near post 14.
The plane is leaking some fuel, and county environmental health officials are also responding to the scene.