Wednesday, June 11, 2014

American Aviation AA-1A Trainer, N9454L: Accident occurred June 09, 2014 in El Mirage, California

NTSB Identification: WPR14FA239
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, June 09, 2014 in El Mirage, CA
Aircraft: AMERICAN AVIATION AA-1A, registration: N9454L
Injuries: 2 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 June 9, 2014, about 1115 Pacific daylight time, an American Aviation AA-1A, N9454L, collided with the dry surface of El Mirage Lake, in El Mirage, California. The airplane was co-owned, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The commercial pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was destroyed during the accident sequence. The local personal flight departed from the El Mirage Lakebed, about 1100. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

Members of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) had organized an off-duty recreation day at the lakebed. The group was comprised of about 12 people, and included family and friends. A combination of activities was planned, including camping, along with flying both the accident airplane and powered paragliders. The accident pilot was a fire helicopter pilot, assigned to the air operations division of the LAFD.

About 0930, the pilot departed with one of his daughters in the accident airplane to perform a sightseeing flight in the local area. The flight departed from the lakebed in a southerly direction in light and variable winds, and lasted about 15 minutes. A short time later he flew his second daughter on a similar flight, for a similar amount of time.

For the third, and accident flight, the group requested that the pilot perform a "low-pass" over the north shore of the lakebed, where everyone had assembled.

According to witnesses, the flight departed again to the south, but this time the wind had picked up such that a left crosswind existed during takeoff. The flight progressed as before, and after about 15 minutes the airplane approached the group from the northwest, at a low altitude for what was presumed to be the low-pass. The airplane flew over the group about 100 feet agl, and after passing initiated a climbing right crosswind turn to the south. Witnesses reported that as the airplane turned from crosswind to downwind, the bank angle became "excessive," with some witnesses assuming the pilot was either positioning the airplane to land, or returning for a second low-pass. The airplane did not level after the bank. The nose then pitched down, and the airplane descended into the ground at a 45-degree nose-down angle.

The accident site was located on the western side of the lakebed, at an elevation of 2,841 feet msl.

The lakebed was comprised of smooth, hard-packed soil, with the first identified point of impact including a series of 2-inch-deep ground disruptions. Ground scars continued 10-feet further, on a bearing of 320 degrees magnetic, and included debris consisting of green wingtip navigation lens fragments and the nose landing gear strut. The engine starter ring and alternator belt were located adjacent to the scars. The propeller, nose landing gear, shards of red wing tip navigation lens, along with the pitot tube (mounted at the left wingtip, underside) were a further 30-feet down range.

The main wreckage came to rest about 160 feet beyond the first impact point. The cabin area rested upright on a bearing of 170 degrees and sustained crush damage from the firewall through to the passenger seat bulkhead. The flight controls were fragmented, and all flight instruments were detached from the panel. The tail section was intact, upright, and undamaged. The engine mount had detached from the airframe, with the engine remaining partially attached to the firewall via control cables and hoses.

Both wings had separated from the center spar, and remained loosely oriented perpendicular to the main cabin. The right wing was inverted, with the outboard section of the leading edge crushed at a 45-degree angle towards the trailing edge of the wing tip. The left wing came to rest leading edge up, and sustained leading edge crush damage along its entire length. Both wing spar fuel tanks were breached, and the odor of automotive gasoline was present at the site. The magneto switch was observed in the both position; additionally, the fuel selector valve was in the right wing tank position. The carburetor heat, throttle, and fuel mixture controls were in the full forward position. The flap actuator was set to the fully retracted flap position.

All major components of airplane were accounted for at the accident site, and the airframe was free of any indications of bird strike.


FAA Riverside FSDO-21

American Aviation AA-1A Trainer, Jeffery K. Moir, N9454L: 

Sebastian Joshua Grewal

Veteran LAFD helicopter pilot Brian Lee, shown in a photo provided by the department, died in an off-duty plane crash on June 9, 2014.

An 8-year-old Hesperia boy died Friday night from injuries he suffered in a plane crash at El Mirage Dry Lake, according to his family.

Despite the efforts of doctors and the prayers of many in the community, Sebastian Joshua Grewal died at Loma Linda University Medical Center at approximately 10 p.m. Friday, his father Joshua Grewal said.

"Sebastian passed away peacefully last night in my arms, surrounded by family," Joshua Grewal said Saturday morning by phone. "I am humbled and touched by all the love and support from the High Desert community and I am forever thankful."

Sebastian, who loved planes and dreamed of becoming a pilot, was critically injured in the crash late Monday morning and was airlifted to Loma Linda where physicians treated him for severe brain injuries, according to his father.

During his stay, doctors performed multiple surgeries on the boy, including one to relieve pressure to the brain, Joshua Grewal said.

As his son was being treated, Joshua Grewal, the owner of Menchie’s frozen yogurt shop in Hesperia, asked the community to lift his son up in prayer and at times wished the he could exchange places with his little boy who also loved cars, golfing and dirt bikes.

Joshua Grewal said Sebastian was “fighting very hard to live” and that “it’s a miracle that he is still alive” after seeing the wreckage of the single-engine Grumman AA-1A aircraft.

 Brian Lee, 47, a family friend and pilot of the aircraft, was pronounced dead Monday night at a Palmdale hospital after being airlifted there. Lee was a Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter pilot and firefighter/paramedic.

According to the LAFD, Lee was a 25-year veteran of the department and was not on duty when the plane experienced problems and crashed.

Joshua Grewal said Lee had taken the plane out to give Sebastian a plane ride during a camping trip. Grewal said Lee left behind twin girls.

Hesperia Mayor Pro Tem Eric Schmidt said the High Desert community, and Hesperia in particular, mourns the loss of Sebastian.

"Our support and prayers go out to Josh and the rest of the family and friends impacted by this tragic accident," Schmidt said.

Hesperia Mayor Thurston "Smitty" Smith reached out to Joshua Grewal soon after the crash and said he'll continue to pray for the family and to make himself available to them.

"It breaks my heart that another father has lost his child," Smith said Saturday morning. "I lost my son, Brandon, seven years ago and the pain is still there. … This is a tragic and sad day. Father's Day will never be the same for Josh."

Sebastian Joshua Grewal

 Sebastian Joshua Grewal

HESPERIA • Sebastian Joshua Grewal, 8, of Hesperia, is clinging to life at Loma Linda University Medical Center after he was critically injured late Monday morning in a plane crash at El Mirage Dry Lake.

“He wants to be a pilot when he grows up,” said Sebastian’s father, Josh Grewal, on Tuesday morning by phone. “He is fighting very hard to live as we speak. Looking at the wreckage of the plane, it’s a miracle that he is still alive.”

Josh Grewal, who is the owner of Menchie’s frozen yogurt shop in Hesperia, said doctors at Loma Linda were performing a second surgery to relieve pressure on Sebastian’s brain on Tuesday.

“Sebastian just turned eight in March, and he loves airplanes, cars, golfing and dirt bikes,” Grewal said. “The community can just keep him in their prayers.”

In a Monday night Facebook post, Josh Grewal said, “... a father's heart is reaching out to whoever is in charge. Please save my son.”

According to authorities, the pilot of the aircraft was off-duty Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter pilot and firefighter/paramedic Brian Lee, 47, who was pronounced dead Monday night at a Palmdale hospital after being airlifted there.

“My heart is also breaking for Brian (Lee), the pilot and a friend,” said Grewal, who lives in Hesperia. “He has two little twin girls.”

According to the LAFD, Lee was a 25-year veteran of the department and was not on duty when the plane experienced problems and crashed.

What exactly caused the plane to go down is unclear, but San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Cpl. Randy Naquin said the plane did a nosedive after experiencing "some sort of mechanical issue."

Lee could not regain control of the small plane and it crashed in the northwest end of the lake bed.

Lee had taken the plane out to the dry lake to give Sebastian a plane ride during a camping trip.

Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, identified the single-engine plane as a Grumman AA-1A. Lee had taken off in the plane from the lakebed and planned to land there as well, Gregor said.

Gregor said the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board would investigate.

Story and photos:

 The plane crashed in a dry lake bed after doing several barrel rolls, a Sheriff’s Department spokesman said. 
(Credit: Newspro)

An off-duty Los Angeles firefighter was killed and a boy passenger was in critical condition after a small, private plane crashed near El Mirage Lake in the Mojave Desert on Monday, according to authorities. 

The crash occurred at the northwest end of the dry lake bed (map) around 11:10 a.m, according to the San Bernardino County Fire Department.
Brian Lee, a helicopter pilot and firefighter/paramedic with the Los Angeles Fire Department, was killed, LAFD announced Monday evening.

His civilian passenger was in critical condition, the department stated in a news release.

Off-duty LAFD colleagues witnessed the crash and “rushed to render aid,” the release said.

Both patients were airlifted to local trauma centers, but Lee died. He had just turned 47 and had served more than 25 years with the Los Angeles Fire Department.

When first responders arrived, firefighters who had been camping at the lake bed were giving CPR to the two people who had been in the plane, sheriff’s Cpl. Randy Naquin.

The firefighters had been taking turns flying the plane when some kind of trouble caused it to nosedive, Naquin said. The pilot attempted to recover and land the aircraft, but it did several barrel rolls, he said.

The passenger, a male juvenile, was taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center, Naquin said. The pilot had been taken to Palmdale trauma center.

The wreckage lay twisted on the sand, video from the scene showed.

The aircraft had taken off from the dry lake bed and planned to land there as well, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor, who said the plane was a single-engine Grumman AA-1A.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board planned to investigate, Gregor said.

The lake bed is in a remote area that is popular for camping about 33 miles east of Lancaster and 55 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

A pilot who died in a small plane crash in San Bernardino County on Monday was a 25-year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department, officials said.

Brian Lee, an LAFD helicopter pilot and firefighter paramedic, was flying with a young passenger when the private plane crash at El Mirage Dry Lake.

Lee and a 7- to 8-year-old boy were airlifted to hospitals following the crash, according to the San Bernardino County Fire Department Spokeswoman Tracy Martinez.

Lee died at the hospital, officials said. The boy was in critical condition.

The plane was flying over El Mirage Dry Lake bed about 11 a.m. when it struck the ground and flipped several times, leaving a trail of debris more than 30 yards long.

"There was something that caused the aircraft to nosedive," San Bernardino Sheriff's Cpl. Randy Naquin said. "The pilot attempted to regain control of the aircraft, tried to land it, and the aircraft ended up doing a couple of barrel rolls."

The American Aviation AA-1A Trainer was severely damaged in the crash, authorities said. The initial call reporting the crash came in as a helicopter crash.

The crash was reportedly near the northwest end of the lake.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration also responded to the crash.

A pilot was killed and a boy injured after a private plane crashed at El Mirage Dry Lake in San Bernardino County on Monday, June 9, 2014. 

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