NTSB Identification: WPR15FA222
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 26, 2015 in Riverside, CA
Aircraft: BEECH F35, registration: N988RH
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 July 26, 2015, about 1704 Pacific daylight time, a Beech F-35, N988RH, was destroyed when it impacted a power pole and ground during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near the Riverside Municipal Airport (RAL), Riverside, California. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was fatally injured. There were no reported ground injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The local flight originated from Brackett Field Airport (POC), La Verne, California, about 1619.
Information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration revealed that the airplane was receiving vectors for the instrument landing system (ILS) 26R instrument approach at the Chino Municipal Airport (CNO), by Southern California Terminal Radar Approach Control (SoCal TRACON). Review of the recorded communication between the pilot and SoCal TRACON revealed that the pilot was issued a heading change to 350 degrees by the controller. The pilot responded shortly after that he had lost the engine, and needed to land at Riverside. The controller responded with the location of RAL, and asked if the pilot had the airport in sight, which the pilot acknowledged. The controller advised the pilot to proceed inbound to RAL and that he could land on the runway of his discretion. The pilot responded that he was going to land into the wind, and the controller repeated that the runway was his discretion, and asked how many people were on board. The pilot responded that he was the only person onboard and that he was going to land into the wind.
Shortly after, the controller relayed the current weather conditions at RAL, which included reported wind from 280 degrees at 12 knots, gusting to 18 knots, and cleared the pilot to land on runway 27. Subsequently, the pilot responded that he was not going to make it. No further radio communication was received from the pilot.
Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane struck a power pole and power lines about .50 miles south of the approach end of runway 27. The first identified point of contact was a power pole, which exhibited a downed wire and impact marks about 40 feet above ground level. Portions of the right flap and right ruddervator were located adjacent to the power pole. The right wing was located about 40 feet beyond the power pole, in the middle of a residential street. The main wreckage was located about 89 feet from the power pole, in a residential yard and consisted of the fuselage, left wing, engine, left ruddervator, and a downed street light pole. The wreckage debris path was oriented on a heading of about 045 degrees magnetic. All major structural components were located within the debris path. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Riverside FSDO-21
Any witnesses should email firstname.lastname@example.org, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email email@example.com .
The pilot who died Sunday after crashing his plane in a Riverside neighborhood has been identified by his mother as Keith C. Davis of Claremont.
Yvonne Davis said there must have been a malfunction in her son's plane before he tried to make an emergency landing along Adams Street.
The younger Davis, 52, was recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2013 for achieving the highest standard for pilots of air carriers and commercial planes. It's unclear whether Davis was employed by a commercial airline.
On Sunday, Davis' small plane barreled through power lines and hit a light pole before coming to rest upside-down on the fence that borders two houses along Adams Street, just south of Riverside Municipal Airport, according to Joshua Cawthra, aviation investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board.
"He was trying to either land on the street or in that field," said Riverside Fire Department Capt. Tim Odebralski, motioning to the soccer field at Adams Elementary School across the street from the wreckage.
The single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza was built in 1955, according to the FAA registry.
The plane burst into flames upon impact, but the Fire Department quickly extinguished the blaze before it spread. Despite the massive explosion, nearby homes were not damaged; only a fence was destroyed.
Davis was the only occupant of the plane. No one on the ground was injured.
The plane departed at 4:19 p.m. out of Brackett Field Airport in La Verne, about 22 miles northwest of where it crashed.
After experiencing engine problems, the pilot radioed his intentions of landing at the Riverside Municipal Airport.
“I don't think I'm going to make it,” Davis said in his final radio transmission, according to Odebralski.
The crash occurred moments after 5 p.m., about a quarter-mile from the airstrip. Some reported seeing smoke billowing from the engine just before the crash landing, Odebralski said.
"We're not sure yet if some of the fire started in the sky," Odebralski added.
Officials with NTSB are investigating the cause of the crash. It could take up to a week before additional details are released, Cawthra said.
On Monday morning, the airplane was still in the backyard where it crashed, but officials planned to move it later in the day.
A small plane crashed and burst into flames in a residential area of Riverside on Sunday, killing the pilot, a fire official said.
The air traffic control tower at Riverside Municipal Airport about 5 p.m. received a distress call from a Beech 35 Bonanza, according to Capt. Tim Odebralski of the Riverside Fire Department.
The pilot reported having engine trouble and requested an emergency landing at the airport. Shortly afterward, “the pilot stated that he didn’t think he was going to make it and that’s the last transmission,” Odebralski told KTLA.
The plane then crashed in the 4500 block of Adams Street, coming to a stop on a sidewalk and through a fence in the backyard of a single-story home, the Fire Department said. The location is across from the campus of Adams Elementary School and less than half a mile from the nearest runway at the airport.
“We were coming down the street and I heard my daughter yell at my husband and there was literally a fireball,” said witness Shanene Romero, who was in a vehicle with her family. Her husband then swerved to avoid falling debris, she said.
“It was intense heat and then we heard a terrific crash,” she added.
In an interview, Catherine Burke said her aging parents were inside their home when the plane slammed through the rear fence.
“While they were eating, they looked up and saw a lot of smoke and dirt in the air,” she said, “and then flames.”
The couple called 911, initially unaware of what exactly had happened. Meanwhile, according to Romero, neighbors used a garden hose and fire extinguisher in an attempt to knock down the blaze and help the pilot.
“Another gentleman,” she said, “was yelling in the plane and saying, ‘Are you OK? Are you OK?”
Firefighters from the department’s airport station arrived at the scene and quickly extinguished the flames, Odebralski said.
The unidentified pilot, the plane’s only occupant, was pronounced dead at the scene, he said, adding that no one on the ground was injured.
The aircraft’s tail number was indecipherable in the wreckage. It was unclear where the plane had taken off from, but a Fire Department official said the flight had not originated from Riverside Municipal Airport.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators were en route to the crash site.
“I’m sure with everyone else, I feel for the pilot and his family and what they’re having to go through,” Burke said.
A pilot died Sunday during the fiery crash of a single-engine plane near Riverside Municipal Airport, narrowly missing two houses.
The pilot radioed the airport shortly before the 5:03 p.m. crash, telling of engine trouble and a plane to make an emergency landing at the airport, said Riverside Fire Capt. Tim Odebralski.
“I don’t think I’m going to make it,” the pilot said in his final radio transmission, according to Odebralski.
The pilot was the only person aboard the plane. The body remained inside the wreckage until after dark and had not been identified.
No one on the ground was hurt.
The white and blue Beech 35 Bonanza landed upside-down in the backyard of a house on the southeast corner of Adams Street and San Vicente Avenue, just south of Arlington Avenue.
Richard and Doris Godfrey have lived in that house for more than 55 years.
“They were just sitting down to have dinner,” said son-in-law Keith Burke. “There was a crash, and the backyard was engulfed in flames – lots and lots of smoke.”
Doris immediately called 911.
“Before she even got through ... the Fire Department was here and extinguishing the flames,” Burke said.
The plane landed squarely in the couple’s backyard. Neither their house nor their neighbors’, about 40 feet away, was damaged by the plane or the flames. Only the Godfreys’ backyard fence was destroyed.
The Godfreys were grateful they escaped injury, but uncertain how they avoided it.
“Either skillful flying ... or just luck,” Burke suggested.
“Our heart goes out to the family of the pilot and the loss they suffered this evening,” he said.
While most of the wreckage ended up in the Godfreys‘ yard, small pieces were strewn against the perimeter fence of Adams Elementary School, across the street from the house.
Power lines bordering the elementary school lay coiled on the ground, apparently snapped during the crash.
A one-block stretch of Adams was closed between San Vicente and Brunswick Avenue for several hours after the crash.
The pilot of the Beech 35 Bonanza reported a loss of engine power at about 5 p.m. before crashing about a half-mile east of Riverside Municipal Airport, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.
"They were requesting an emergency landing at the Riverside [Municipal] Airport. Shortly thereafter, they received an additional distress call saying that he didn't think that he was going to make it to the airport, and then several calls came in right after that for a plane crash," city fire Capt. Tim Odebralski said.
The plane narrowly missed two houses and landed upside down in Dick and Doris Godfrey's backyard.
"They were having dinner, eating their salad, and they looked up, and all of a sudden they saw smoke and a lot of dust, and then the plane burst into flames," their daughter, Catherine Burke, said.
The pilot was pronounced dead at the scene. He was not immediately identified.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash, which initially left 350 people in the area without power, according to Riverside Public Utilities.
Power was restored at about 8:50 p.m. Nobody on the ground was injured, Odebralski said.
"Knowing that the person called mayday, he knew something was wrong, he did the best he could. No other life had to be taken," witness Jessica Aviles said.