Thursday, January 28, 2016

Robinson R22 Beta, November Alpha LLC, N404LE: Accident occurred January 27, 2016 in Lindenhurst, New York

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Preliminary Report: 


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Farmingdale FSDO-11

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA094
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 27, 2016 in Lindenhurst, NY
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R22, registration: N404LE
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 27, 2016, about 1145 eastern standard time, a Robinson R22 Beta, N404LE, operated by Academy of Aviation, LLC, was substantially damaged during an autorotation, after it experienced a total loss of engine power while in cruise flight near Lindenhurst, New York. The flight instructor and student pilot were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight that originated from Republic Airport (FRG), Farmingdale, New York. The local instructional flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the flight instructor reported that he and the student pilot were returning to FRG after flying for about 1.6 hours. The helicopter was about 4 miles southeast of the airport, at an altitude of approximately 700 feet mean sea level, when the engine began to run rough for a few seconds and then quit suddenly. The flight instructor assumed control of the helicopter and performed an autorotation to a street in a residential neighborhood. After touchdown, the main rotor blades struck a sign, and the helicopter rolled over, onto its right side. The tail boom separated just prior to the vertical fin and the tail rotor gear box and tail rotor blades displayed damage consistent with ground contact. The flight instructor added that he been operating with the carburetor heat control in the on position throughout the flight, which included at the time of the power loss.

Postaccident examination of the helicopter by an FAA inspector did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions. Approximately 6 gallons of fuel was drained from the fuel tank, which was not compromised. The engine was retained for further examination to be conducted at a later date.

COPIAGUE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A flight instructor and student pilot walked away unscathed after their helicopter crash landed in a residential area of Long Island.

The Robinson R22 helicopter attempted to make an emergency landing at Buena Vista Boulevard and East Alhambra Avenue in Copiague just before noon Wednesday after reporting engine problems, as reported by CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff.

Neighbors found the chopper on its side. They were amazed that the 26-year-old pilot and flight instructor, Joseph Lombardo, and his 27-year-old student, Ming Chen, weren’t injured.

Lombardo’s confident words could be heard in a cell phone video of the inside of his downed helicopter moments after the crash landing.

Witness: How did you not hit those wires?

Lombardo: ‘Cause I saw them.

Witness: Geez dude, how long you been flying?

Lombardo: Three years.

Vincent Pellegrini told CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco that he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

“I looked to my left and I saw the helicopter right next to me, thought I was just seeing things. I saw it go right behind the trees, under the power lines, and tip right over,” he said.

Witness Laura St. Angelo heard the helicopter motor sputtering and saw the aircraft coming down.

“It was petrifying,” she told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall. “I heard crash, boom.”

Air traffic controllers knew there was trouble-from the Mayday Transmission southwest of Republic Airport in Farmingdale.

“It’s a miracle it didn’t hit a house, a miracle that they both were able to get out alive, that men that were working on a house ducked when the helicopter came over them — they ran for it,” St. Angelo said.

The teacher was operating the helicopter at the time and many at the scene are calling him a hero.

“I did see his face with that fear and I would like to hug that man,” St. Angelo said. “I’m just so grateful that he’s alive, both of them.”

Lombardo managed to land the chopper in the intersection, avoiding any homes, electrical wires, or passing cars below.

The helicopter is owned by Academy of Aviation. The company says the experienced instructor was returning from a two-hour lesson when mechanical problems shut down the engine. The pilot is being hailed a hero for managing to find a place where no one would get hurt.

No injuries were reported on the ground.

The FAA and NTSB are investigating.

Story, video and photo gallery:

Incident occurred January 28, 2016 at McAllen Miller International Airport (KMFE), McAllen, Hidalgo County, Texas.

MCALLEN- United Airlines said all their passengers are alright, after an emergency landing on Thursday at the McAllen Miller International Airport.

The airline said a brake light indicator came on. They said the control tower declared what they call a “precautionary emergency.”

The plane was inspected and was flown back to Houston. The air traffic control’s radio communications were captured word-for-word. captured all conversations between pilots and air traffic control.

“We have a left hand brake fault message, just an advisory message,” the pilot told air traffic control.

Airport administration said there was some sort of mechanical problem with the brakes.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS learned that 41 people were onboard the Embraer 175 airplane. Mesa Airlines operates the plane under the United Express brand. The plane has a total of 76 seats.

It is unknown what exactly went wrong with the plane. CHANNEL 5 NEWS reached out to Mesa Airlines about the situation. They responded with this statement:

“In response to a brake indicator light, the crew of United Express flight 4020, operated by Mesa Airlines, notified the control tower, which declared a precautionary emergency. The aircraft, an Embraer 175 landed without incident and passengers deplaned normally through the jet way. There were no injuries. The aircraft was inspected by maintenance personnel and cleared to continue to Houston."

CHANNEL 5 NEWS is working to find out how long the Embraer 175 plane has been in operation, and what prompted the brake indicator light to come on. We will keep our viewers updated with the very latest on this story.

Story and video:

Beech E-90 King Air, N345V, E90 LLC: Incident occurred January 21, 2016 in Bainbridge, Decatur County, Georgia

Date: 21-JAN-16
Time: 16:30:00Z
Regis#: N345V
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 90
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Atlanta FSDO-11
State: Georgia


E90 LLC:

GE Aviation to lay off 238 engineers in Cincinnati area: Move part of overall reduction in engineering force

EVENDALE —One of Greater Cincinnati's largest employers is cutting hundreds of high paying jobs.

More than 300 General Electric engineers were laid off Thursday morning.

The company said, as many of the current projects shift from the development phase to the production phase, there was no longer a need for the number of engineers the company employed.

At the nearby Village Shoppe and Go Thursday, Steve Greiwe prepared for the evening rush.

"We keep 60 different craft beers just for that taste of those folks that come in here," Greiwe said.

Quite a few of his Evendale customers may be coming in with a bitter taste in their mouths after learning nearby GE laid off a few hundred people.

"It could be something where these guys start coming in or gals start coming in this afternoon and before you know it they're like 'wow, guess what I just got a pink slip,' so we'll see what happens," said Greiwe.

A total of 307 GE engineers, including 238 in Greater Cincinnati they are being let go.

In a statement, GE Spokesman Rick Kennedy wrote, "Significant effort has been made to move as many engineers as possible to other positions at GE Aviation and other GE businesses. Also, GE Aviation has offered voluntary early retirement to several hundred eligible engineers."

Kennedy said the reduction represents about 7 percent of the overall GE aviation engineering population in the United States.

He said the company will still employ more than 3,000 engineers in Cincinnati.

Looking at the bigger picture, the few hundred may not seem like a lot, but it's still 307 people and families affected.

"We do have a lot of GE customers. In fact, a lot of businesses that support this business, including GE, is what makes us thrive all the time," said Greiwe. "It'll have a ripple effect through the whole area."

Kennedy said, "The impacted engineers are being provided an array of severance benefits, including outplacement services, in-house job fairs with other engineering companies associated with GE Aviation, as well as wages and medical coverages for a period of time based on years of service."

Story, video and comments:

Beech K35 Bonanza, N5320E: Incident occurred January 26, 2016 in Blythe, Georgia

Date: 26-JAN-16
Time: 17:42:00Z
Regis#: N5320E
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 35
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Atlanta FSDO-11
State: Georgia


AIRCRAFT: 1959 Beechcraft K35, N5320E, serial number D-5815

ENGINE(S) - M&M, S/N:  Continental OA470-C, serial number 87903-70-CR (250HP)

PROPELLER(S) – M&M, S/N: Beech 278-205-25, serial number 416

APPROXIMATE TOTAL HOURS (estimated TT & TSMO from logbooks or other information):

ENGINE(S):   TSMO = 1465.0

PROPELLER(S): Not available     

AIRFRAME:  TTAF = 5413                    

OTHER EQUIPMENT: KMA 24; KLN 90B; 2 KC155’s; KT76; AM/FM radio; G/S; CDI

DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT:  Prop strike on takeoff due to nose gear collapse, failure of brace assembly.

DESCRIPTION OF DAMAGES: Nos gear brace, prop strike, engine stoppage, lower cowling and airbox have damage, nose gear doors damaged.             

LOCATION OF AIRCRAFT:   private hangar at Blythe, Georgia / Airport 61GA.   

REMARKS: Good paint, nice interior. Dual yokes, Field adjuster has logbooks.  



Cessna 340A, N346MC, Pacific FBO Properties LLC: Accident occurred January 27, 2016 at Meadows Field Airport (KBFL), Bakersfield, Kern County, California


FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Van Nuys FSDO-01

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA058
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 27, 2016 in Bakersfield, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/16/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA 340A, registration: N346MC
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airline transport pilot was conducting a personal cross-country flight. The pilot reported that he configured the airplane to land at his destination airport. However, during his instrument panel scan, he observed a warning light indicating that the right main landing gear (MLG) was not locked in the extended position. He then departed the traffic pattern and attempted to troubleshoot the indication by cycling the landing gear without success. He subsequently returned to the airport and used the hand crank to manually deploy the gear but continued to receive the “gear unlocked” indication. The airplane touched down normally, but as the pilot attempted a right turn to exit the runway, the right MLG collapsed, which resulted in substantial damage to the right aileron. 

Postaccident examination of the landing gear revealed that the right MLG aft drive tube, which supplies overcenter tension to the aft bellcrank and side brace lock link when the MLG is in the extended position, failed in tensile overload. According to an airplane manufacturer representative, low overcenter tension, which is typically a result of improper rigging, will cause the MLG to collapse when it is under load in the extended position. If the MLG collapses while it is in the extended positon, the aft drive tube will fracture in tensile overload. 

According to the airplane service manual, the landing gear must be re-rigged following any adjustment to the gear down-lock tension; however, a representative of the pilot’s maintenance provider reported that maintenance personnel had not complied with this service manual requirement after adjusting the MLG down-lock tension in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Therefore, it is likely that maintenance personnel’s failure to re-rig the MLG in accordance with the manual requirements led to its being improperly rigged and to the subsequent collapse of the right MLG.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
Maintenance personnel’s repeated failure to re-rig the main landing gear (MLG) in accordance with the airplane manufacturer's service manual requirements, which resulted in the collapse of the right MLG.

On January 27, 2016, about 0939 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 340A airplane, N346MC, was substantially damaged during a landing attempt at Meadows Field Airport (BFL), Bakersfield, California. The business flight was operated by Pacific FBO Properties, LLC under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The airline transport pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the cross-country flight that departed Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA), Santa Barbara, California, at 0900. 

According to the pilot, at the conclusion of his cross country flight he entered the left base leg of the airport traffic pattern and deployed the landing gear. During his instrument panel scan the pilot observed a "gear unlocked" indication and the absence of a gear down light for the right main landing gear. He asked the air traffic controller to describe the position of the landing gear, and after a "flyover," the controller announced that the landing gear appeared to be extended. The pilot then departed the traffic pattern to the west to troubleshoot the indication. After re-cycling the landing gear the pilot returned to the airport and manually deployed the gear, but continued to receive an identical "gear unlocked" indication. The pilot completed an uneventful touchdown and landing roll, but the right main landing gear collapsed when he attempted a right turn to exit the runway. A review of accident photographs by a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator revealed substantial damage to the right aileron.

According to FAA records, the airplane, manufactured in 1977, was issued its most recent airworthiness certificate on September 16, 1986 and was registered to Pacific FBO Properties, LLC, the accident pilot's company, on February 28, 2005. The airplane was powered by two Continental Motors, Inc. TSIO-520-NB, turbocharged, 335 hp engines, each equipped with McCauley C515 Sabre Propellers.

The pilot reported that he observed a similar unlocked indication for the right main landing gear during a flight a few weeks prior to the accident. The indication disappeared after the pilot cycled the landing gear. 

A review of the airplane's maintenance records revealed that the most recent annual inspection was completed on August 7, 2015, at 4,149 hours of total time in service. A work order entry dated July 4, 2011 stated that the accident pilot observed a "red unsafe light" indication when he attempted to deploy the landing gear and subsequently used the manual extension to complete the gear extension. After the landing roll, the red indication disappeared. The maintenance facility discovered that the downlock tension to the right main landing gear was too "tight." The tension was then adjusted to comply with the service manual requirement. Subsequent work orders from 2012 and 2013 also noted downlock tensions that were also outside the manufacturer's published limitations. The entry in 2013 stated that the downlock tensions to the right and left main landing gear were adjusted to 50 lbs. 

The airplane is equipped with a fully retractable tricycle landing gear system comprised of a main landing gear wheel beneath each wing and a nose landing gear in the forward fuselage. Each landing gear is mechanically connected to a gearbox located aft of the pilot's seat, driven by a motor, and actuated by a landing gear switch on the instrument panel. A manual extension hand crank, located on the right side of the pilot's seat, can be used to extend the landing gear in the event of an electrical system failure. Landing gear position switches located on the aft bell crank of each gear transmit signals to the instrument panel position indicators to indicate when the landing gear is down and locked. When the landing gear is not locked, the light that corresponds with the affected gear will remain unlit and a light labeled "Gear Unlocked" will illuminate. 

According to the Cessna 340 Service Manual, "anytime a landing gear retraction or extension system component has been removed, replaced or the tension on the downlocks adjusted, the entire landing gear system must be re-rigged." This rigging procedure involves disconnecting and reinstalling each section of the mechanical assembly to within the manufacturer's specifications. According to a representative of the pilot's maintenance facility, they did not re-rig the landing gear after the downlock tension was adjusted in 2011, 2012, or 2013. In addition, the airplane logbooks did not contain any entries to indicate that the landing gear rigging procedure had been completed in the airplane's previous 964 hours of operation. 

An aft drive tube is used within the landing gear assembly to supply overcenter tension to the aft bell crank when the landing gear is deployed. A follow-up examination by the NTSB revealed that the aft drive tube rod end fractured about mid-span and a NTSB metallurgist confirmed that the fracture signatures were consistent with tensile overload. The landing gear mechanical and electrical systems were tested multiple times during the follow-up examination. A landing gear cycle test revealed that the left main landing gear and nose gear reached their full extended and retracted positions, which were validated using the instrument panel position indicators. The broken aft drive tube precluded a cycle test of the right main landing gear; however, the "Gear Unlocked" warning light illuminated when the gear was in the extended position. A subsequent electrical continuity test of the right gear downlock switch did not reveal any anomalies. Further tests of the main landing gear downlock tension revealed a measurement of 46 lbs for the left main landing gear. The right main landing gear tension could not be obtained due to the broken aft drive tube.

According to a representative of the airframe manufacturer, low overcenter tension can cause the aft bell crank and side brace lock link to retract and the landing gear to collapse when the landing gear is under load in the extended position. After the landing gear is deployed, a torque tube rotates to move the aft drive tube into the extended position, which supplies overcenter tension to the aft bell crank and side brace lock link. If the landing gear collapses while the gear is in the extended position, the rod end of the drive tube will fail in tensile overload. The manufacturer added that these failures are the common result of improperly rigged landing gear.

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA058
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 27, 2016 in Bakersfield, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA 340A, registration: N346MC
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 27, 2016, about 0939 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 340A airplane, N346MC, was substantially damaged during a landing attempt at Meadows Field Airport (BFL), Bakersfield, California. The airplane was operated by a private individual under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The airline transport pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the cross-country flight that departed Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA), Santa Barbara, California, at 0900. 

According to the pilot, he entered the left base leg of the airport traffic pattern and deployed the landing gear. He received "gear unlocked" indications for the right main landing gear, and then executed a flyover of runway 30R. After an air traffic controller confirmed the landing gear was down, the pilot retracted the gear and departed the traffic pattern to the west to troubleshoot the indication. He then manually cranked the landing gear to the down position, but continued to receive unlocked indications for the affected gear. When he returned to the airport to land the pilot touched down on the left main landing gear first and gently put weight on the right gear, but the right main landing gear collapsed during the subsequent landing roll. 

Photographs taken by the Federal Aviation Administration showed that the airplane had sustained substantial damage to the right aileron. Examination of the right main landing gear well revealed a broken downlock brace.

The airplane was retained for further examination.


A twin Cessna suffered a landing gear collapse upon landing at Meadows Field Wednesday morning, according to airport director Richard Strickland.

It happened just before 9:30 a.m. 

The pilot of the plane radioed Meadows tower saying he had a landing gear issue, Strickland said.

The pilot did a fly-by so the tower could look at the landing gear and they told the pilot it looked okay, according to Strickland.

He said when the plane landed the landing gear collapsed and the plane went "belly down" on the runway.

Strickland said "belly down" is when the fuselage of the plane contacts pavement.

The pilot was the only person on board and Strickland said he was able to self-evacuate from the plane.

Strickland said the main runway at Meadows is closed for an unknown amount of time.

He said the incident will not impact commercial traffic because those planes will land on the alternate runway, 30 left.

Story and photo: 

According to airport officials, a Twin Cessna plane's landing gear collapsed when it landed at Meadows Field on Wednesday morning.

Meadows Field director Richard Strickland said that this all happened at around 9:28 AM and said the pilot of the plane contacted the Meadows tower that he was having some landing gear issues.

Strickland added that the pilot did a fly by so the tower could see if there were any problems with the landing gear. 

When the plane landed on the main runway, the landing gear collapsed and the plane went belly down, according to Strickland.

Strickland added that the pilot was the only person on board and was able to leave the plane. 

The main runway was reopened later in the afternoon. 

Story, video and photo gallery:

Piper PA-24-260 Comanche, N9362P, Tango Romeo Aviation Enterprises LLC: Fatal accident occurred January 28, 2016 near Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (KSTS), Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Preliminary Report: 

Tango Romeo Aviation Enterprises LLC:

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA059
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, January 28, 2016 in Santa Rosa, CA
Aircraft: PIPER PA 24-260, registration: N9362P
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 January 28, 2016, about 1900 Pacific standard time, a Piper PA-24-260C, N9362P, was destroyed when it impacted terrain during an instrument landing system (ILS) approach into Charles M. Schulz Airport – Sonoma County Airport (STS), Santa Rosa, California. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Tango Charlie Aviation LLC as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 flight. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed about the time of the accident, and a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan was filed for the cross country flight. The personal flight departed Palm Springs International Airport (PSP), Palm Springs, California at 1535. 

According to witnesses, the pilot and his passenger flew from STS to PSP the day before the accident for an overnight stay. A fixed based operator topped off the airplane's fuel tanks as instructed by the pilot who anticipated an afternoon departure the following day. On the day of the accident, the pilot filed a VFR flight plan and then departed for STS with VFR flight following. He obtained an instrument flight rules clearance from air traffic control about 46 nautical miles from his destination, and was subsequently cleared to an approach fix on the ILS approach to runway 32 at STS. According to preliminary radar data, the airplane was not established on the localizer until it reached the final approach fix. The pilot was transferred to a STS tower controller about 4 nautical miles from the airport, who then cleared the pilot to land on runway 32. The airplane was observed on the tower radar display drifting to the right of the localizer, and then disappeared off radar at approximately 400 feet mean sea level. The pilot did not make any further radio calls after he acknowledged the tower controller's landing clearance. 

The airplane impacted a grass field about 2 nautical miles south of STS. All four corners of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site. An initial impact point (IIP) was identified by fragments from the left wing and the red position light that spanned about 2 feet in length. The main wreckage was located in the debris path about 133 feet from the IIP beyond an intermediate impact crater and was oriented on a 306 degree magnetic heading. Portions of the left wing, including two breached fuel tanks, came to rest about 40 feet south of the main wreckage. The empennage was inverted, but remained intact with some skin deformation to the vertical stabilizer, rudder and stabilator. 

The main wreckage was comprised of the cockpit, right wing, a portion of the left wing, and engine. The rudder, aileron and stabilator cables were traced from the cockpit to their respective control surfaces. The right wing auxiliary fuel tank contained about 8 gallons of blue colored fuel with an odor that resembled 100 LL aviation grade gasoline. A fuel line had broken free from the right main fuel tank, which was not breached. Both propeller blades exhibited aft bending, chordwise scratches, and gouges along the leading edges of the blades. 

The 1900 recorded weather observation at STS included winds calm, visibility 2.5 statute miles, an overcast cloud layer at 400 feet, temperature 12 degrees C, dew point 12 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.20 inches of mercury.

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Don Mackenzie

 Pacific Coast Air Museum

Marsha Gastwirth
 Wine Trail Escapes

SONOMA COUNTY (BCN) — The National Transportation Safety Board expects to remove the wreckage on Saturday of a Piper PA-24-260 Comanche plane that crashed Thursday evening in a pasture south of the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport.

NTSB air safety investigator Stephen Stein said the wreckage of the Piper PA-24-260 Comanchee will be transported to Sacramento for a preliminary report about the fatal crash that killed a male pilot and a woman. The report should take five to 10 days, Stein said.

The   Piper PA-24-260 Comanche plane went down around 7 p.m. near Wood Ranch Road at Wood Road a half-mile to a mile away from Runway 32. The plane left Palm Springs International Airport for a direct flight to Santa Rosa, Stein said.

Jonathan Stout, manager of the Sonoma County airport, said the plane was within the normal landing path and not off course. There were clouds at 900 feet above ground level and the pilot was using instrumentation, Stout said.

The tower at the airport is in operation 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Stout said.

Stein said the plane was registered to Tango Romeo Aviation in Sebastopol and was based at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport. The crash left a crater and small debris field, and the plane was substantially damaged, Stein said.

The left wing separated from the fuselage on impact, Stein said.

One of the deceased was found about 20 feet from the plane and the other was with the wreckage, Stein said.

The pilot communicated with the Oakland air traffic control center in Oakland and with the tower at the Sonoma County airport, Stein said. Stein said he did not know if the pilot gave a distress signal.

Stout said there are 82,000 take offs and landings a year at the airport and 385 commercial, private, corporate and charter aircraft are based there.

Alaska Airlines flies to Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland and San Diego out of the Sonoma County airport. Service to Orange County is scheduled to start in March.

SANTA ROSA (KRON) — Two people are dead after their plane crashed in Santa Rosa Thursday night. 

Sonoma County dispatch got a call about the crash just before 7 p.m. The plane was a single-engine Piper PA-24, according to FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.

The crash happened near Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport. The plane had departed from Palm Springs and was on its way to Santa Rosa, Gregor said.

It is not known if the plane was leaving or approaching any area airports. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

The FAA and NTSB will investigate the crash. The victims have not been identified.

No other information is immediately available.

Story and video:

Two people died after a small plane they were in crashed late Thursday near Santa Rosa, officials said. 

The plane, a single-engine Piper PA-24, had departed from Palm Springs for Santa Rosa, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

The plane crashed on final approach to Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, according to Gregor. The crash was reported around 7 p.m. in the area of Wood Road and Wood Ranch Road in unincorporated Santa Rosa, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.

The crash came close to Eric Morris' home.

"There was no fire, but a little bit of smoke coming off of the rear of the airplane, or what was left of it anyway," Morris said.

Morris said he did not notice anything unusual around the time of the crash.

The area where the plane crashed is somewhat rural and about two miles south of the Charles M. Schulz airport in Santa Rosa. The pilot and passenger were pronounced deceased at the scene, according to the sheriff's office.

It was not immediately known what caused the plane to crash. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the incident.

No other information was immediately available.

Story and video:

Two people in a small plane died Thursday night in Santa Rosa after the aircraft crashed “under unknown circumstances,” officials said.

A single-engine Piper PA-24 that departed from Palm Springs was on a final approach to Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport when it crashed, said Ian Gregor, an Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office first received reports of the crash around 7 p.m., said Lt. Tim Duke. 

The plane wreckage was found in a pasture near Wood Road in Santa Rosa. 

Two people appeared to have been ejected from the plane, Duke said.

Officials are monitoring the crash site. 

The degree of debris made it hard to determine the sex of the deceased, Duke said.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.

Cheap jet fuel helping airlines more than travelers

Airlines are taking advantage of the lower costs to pay dividends, repurchase shares, reduce or refinance debt and add capacity.

Ibrahim Tohow refuels an Alaska Airlines 737 in 2011. Plunging jet-fuel costs have been a big help to airlines, but carriers haven’t passed much of the benefits on to consumers.

Rob Britton, who spent two decades with American Airlines Group, is unapologetic in defending the profits his former employer and other U.S. carriers are making. Sure, fuel’s cheap, but what company cuts prices as soon as its costs shrink?

“Amtrak doesn’t lower its prices because diesel is cheaper, and New York taxi cabs don’t lower their prices because a tank of gas is cheaper,” said Britton, now an aviation consultant in Washington, D.C.

Consumers have benefited somewhat from the lowest jet-fuel costs in more than 12 years, but not nearly as much as the companies.

While travelers are paying less on average for trips, base fares — the prices assigned to each seat — have remained essentially unchanged since 2014, according to Rick Seaney, chief executive of ticket-research company

Meanwhile, spot jet-fuel prices in New York harbor have tumbled 70 percent since the start of 2014, to 92 cents a gallon Tuesday. Prices hit 81 cents Jan. 20, the lowest since December 2003, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

One reason base fares haven’t fallen more: Collapsing oil prices haven’t triggered a major economic slowdown, which typically would quash demand.

Airlines also are taking advantage of the lower costs to pay dividends, repurchase shares, reduce or refinance debt and add capacity.

The industry reported combined losses of $58 billion in the nine years ended in 2009, so “we’re going to do our best to make money in these good years, because who knows what’s going to happen,” said Britton, who was a managing director and adviser to the chairman at American.

Delta Air Lines, United Continental Holdings and Southwest Airlines all reported record adjusted profits in 2015 and paid a combined $7.6 billion less for fuel — which historically accounts for about one-third of industry operating costs.

The companies said they would have saved more if not for contracts that locked in some prices in advance at above-market rates. American, the world’s biggest carrier, will report its full-year results Friday.

United, Delta and Southwest expect to spend about $6.4 billion less combined on jet kerosene this year.

 Hunter Keay, an analyst at Wolfe Research in New York, predicts more of these savings will flow through to travelers.

“I anticipate that airlines will keep only 31 percent of lower fuel prices in 2016,” down from 50 percent last year, he said. “The rest of it will be passed on to consumers in lower ticket prices or to pilot unions” seeking higher pay in contract talks.

Labor costs vie with fuel as the industry’s biggest single expense.

Competition from ultra discounters such as Spirit Airlines have helped push fares down in the past few years.

The average amount paid for a domestic ticket at the end of December was $388, the lowest since January 2010, according to data from Airline Reporting, which settles sales between airlines and travel agencies. The average premium ticket was $741, lowest since December 2008.

The largest carriers’ oil savings have allowed them to match discounters’ cheapest rates, triggering fare wars in some markets. On Tuesday, American posted on its website a $106.20 Dallas-Fort Worth/Miami round trip for next month, while United offered a $276.20 price for Newark, N.J./San Francisco.

The most-discounted leisure tickets were down 27 percent as of Dec. 28 from a year earlier, according to Bob Harrell, founder of Harrell Associates, which tracks one-way pricing on 300 routes. Refundable business tickets rose 3 percent.

Consumers saw $6.3 billion in cheaper fares in 2015 and may see $6.1 billion more in savings this year, Keay said. Fares should fall by the mid-to-high single digits in the next four months before stabilizing, he added.

Some savings may be offset as carriers continue to add separate charges for items such as checked bags, food and seat upgrades, according to a recent report from the Global Business Travel Association.

These ancillary fees, which apply to all passengers who select services or products beyond a base fare, may have hit $7 billion industrywide in 2015, up from $6.5 billion in 2014, said Michael McCormick, the association’s executive director.

Some passengers say they haven’t noticed a change in prices.

“The planes are always packed, and I don’t see airfares dropping,” said Kevin Pratt, an advanced analytics consultant who flies about twice a week. “I mostly fly Southwest, which has better deals on almost every route, although the prices on Southwest have generally risen, too.”

The average domestic fare should fall less than 1 percent in 2016 after declining 5.6 percent in 2015 from the previous year, based on the business-travel association’s report.

Economy travel within North America should average about 5 percent less this year, similar to the decline through the first 10 months of 2015, according to an Expedia analysis of Airline Reporting data.

Industry executives decline to discuss ticket prices. American, Delta, United and Southwest have agreed to cooperate with a U.S. Justice Department antitrust review, begun in July, of whether airlines discussed the supply of seats to gain pricing power.

An increase in oil prices and higher labor costs may be the biggest threats to lower fares. United pilots on Jan. 22 approved a two-year contract extension with raises over three years of 13 percent, 3 percent and 2 percent. Delta and its pilots are negotiating a new agreement.

Southwest is in talks with unions for flight attendants and mechanics and is preparing for a new round of discussions with pilots.

The biggest U.S. airlines raised round-trip domestic fares $6 earlier this month, the first widespread increase since June 2015, according to Jamie Baker, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase.

Carriers have had just a 21 percent success rate in boosting fares since 2013, he noted.

Attempts generally fail when airlines such as Southwest refuse to match the increase, forcing rivals to roll back prices to remain competitive.

“It’s a national pastime to complain about the level of airfares,” Harrell said. “But if you’re a careful shopper and have flexibility in your schedule, you can find good fares. The lowest leisure fares are still dramatically below where they were a year ago.”

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Skywest, Bombardier CL600 2B19: Incident occurred January 25, 2016 in Pellston, Emmet County, Michigan

Date: 25-JAN-16
Time: 19:47:00Z
Regis#: SKW7422
Aircraft Make: BOMBARDIER
Aircraft Model: CL600 2B19
Event Type: Incident
Damage: Unknown
Activity: Commercial
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)
Aircraft Operator: SKW-SkyWest Airlines
Flight Number: SKW7422
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Grand Rapids FSDO-09
State: Michigan


Piper PA-28-235, VH-PXD: Fatal accident occurred January 29, 2016 in Barwon Heads, near Geelong

NTSB Identification: WPR16WA062
Accident occurred Friday, January 29, 2016 in Barwon Heads, Australia, Australia
Aircraft: PIPER PA28, registration:
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On January 29, 2016, at 1155 local time, a Piper PA 28-235, VH-PXD, was ditched in the waters near Barwon Heads, Australia. The airplane was operated by a private individual under the pertinent regulations of the Government of Australia. The airplane was destroyed and the pilot and 3 passengers were fatally injured.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Government of Australia. This report is for information purposes only and contains only information released by the Government of Australia. Further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB)

P.O. Box 967, Civic Square

Canberra A.C.T. 2608


Tel: +612 6274 6054

Fax: +612 6274 6434

Flower memorial at Point Lonsdale Lighthouse for Ian Chamberlain and Dianne Bradley.

At least three small planes set out on the convoy for King Island, taking off from Moorabbin Airport for a weekend of cheese, music and horse racing.

But one light aircraft, carrying the registration VH-PXD, did not make it across  Bass Strait.

Investigators are still piecing together the circumstances of what happened a week ago when a 1967 Piper PA-28 Cherokee plummeted into the ocean just off the Victorian surf coast without making a distress call.

On board were four friends, Daniel Flinn, Donald Hately, Ian Chamberlain and Dianne Bradley, a group of experienced aviation lovers in their 50s and 60s from Melbourne's south-east. They all died when the plane hit the water.

Among those feeling the loss are the pilots and passengers of other planes who were also due to make the short trip down to rugged King Island, a windswept place just to the north of Tasmania best known for its high-quality cheese, lobster and beef.

The loosely organised group, co-ordinated by a senior member of the Royal Victorian Aero Club, planned the flyaway to attend the Festival of King Island and the final day of horse racing for the summer.

"King Island is an easy 1½ hours each way in a Warrior [plane]," the invite read.

"Fly down to Cape Otway - a scenic run along the Great Ocean Road - to minimise the water crossing."

Some cancelled the trip after hearing about the crash. Others pressed on unaware of what had happened to the plane, which was owned by Mr Chamberlain and recognisable for its red and white livery.

One convoy member flew on about 30 minutes behind the Cherokee in his own Piper Arrow, oblivious of what had unfolded ahead and apparently untroubled by the poor weather that may have played a part in the crash.

"It does affect them, there were people who were going down on Saturday that pulled the pin," said Royal Victorian Aero Club president Stuart Rushton, who was not part of the group.

"There were others who decided to put their passengers on King Island Airlines and come back."

As the tight-knit small plane community comes to grips with the crash, bad conditions have stalled dive crews from accessing the sunken wreckage which sits on the bottom of the ocean floor about 2km off Collendina Beach in Ocean Grove.

Water Police have loaded a barge at Williamstown and hope to begin the salvage on Sunday.

Police are preparing a report for the coroner, while the Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigates what may have led to the crash.

Many are asking why a plane carrying three pilots would fly into what appeared to be deteriorating weather conditions.

Witnesses on the day reported bad weather, including pouring rain and low visibility, factors which the ATSB will investigate as well as the pilot's training and maintenance records.

Peter Lewry was fishing off Swan Bay, near Queenscliff, when he saw the plane flying low, maybe even as low as 100 metres above the ocean, and heading straight towards bad weather.

"It didn't sound like the plane was in any trouble at all, but they were flying into some really heavy weather, they were heading right into it; terrible sky and lots and lots of heavy rain," Mr Lewry said.

Aviation expert Neil Hansford, chair of Strategic Aviation Solutions, said the most common cause of plane crashes is pilot error.

"Certainly disorientation in cloud is a major contributor," he said.

"Having all that fluffy white stuff around, you can't identify things around you and the sea makes it more complicated; there's no roads or road maps."

The condition, called spatial disorientation, can happen to even the most experienced pilots.

According to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, spatial disorientation occurs when "your senses are telling you something that isn't true - typically that you are flying straight and level when in fact you are in a spiral dive". 

Who was at the controls of the Piper Cherokee when it hit the water has not been made public.

Mr Handford said a big question that needs answering is whether the pilot was trained to fly with instruments such as GPS and not solely by visual cues.

"If he's instrument rated, you feed into the GPS, no different than GPS navigation in your car," he said.

"It doesn't matter if you're flying in cloud or not."

"If he wasn't flying on instruments and he was doing VFR [visual flight rules] and he was in cloud, he'll obviously try to get out of the cloud and you've got to get below it."

In an odd coincidence, the ATSB has confirmed that the same plane, manufactured in 1967, was involved in another crash more than 25 years ago.

On a windy day in October 1988, according to an investigation report, the pilot made a rough landing after a faster-than-normal approach to the runway at Melton Airport.

There were no serious injuries in that crash but the plane, registered VH-PXD, did sustain a broken wheel assembly which allowed the propeller to strike the ground.

The ATSB says it will release the initial findings of its latest investigation in the coming months, perhaps providing some answers to families and friends.

In the meantime, a small tribute has been set up at the Point Lonsdale lighthouse:

"For a second you were flying like you all loved to do," it begins.

"Now you'll fly forever in skies of amazing blue."

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TRIBUTES have been paid to the four people who died when the light plane they were in crashed into the sea on the Bellarine Peninsula.

Danny Flinn, Don Hateley, Ian Chamberlain and his unnamed partner were on-board the plane that plunged into the ocean off Barwon Heads on Friday.

All victims were believed to be members of the Royal Victorian Aero Club at Moorabbin Airport, from where the doomed flight took off.

The three men and woman were killed when the Piper PA-28-235 aircraft crashed at 12.30pm, about 2km off Collendina Beach.

Police have recovered three of the bodies from the sea and the search for the fourth body and wreckage will resume this morning.

Regan Powell considered her next-door neighbor of four years, Mr Hateley, a friend.

Crash victim Ian Chamberlain in front of the plane.

Plane crash victim Don Hateley with his daughter Elizabeth on a previous flight.

“He was a fantastic neighbour, he’d always look after our place if we went away,” she said.

“He loved flying.”

A Moorabbin Airport business owner, who asked not to be named, paid tribute to Mr Flinn and Mr Hateley.

“I’ve known Don for more than 10 years and he was a great bloke,” he said.

“Him and Danny were always bouncing off each other.

“Don was a very experienced and well-respected pilot, so it’s a mystery as to what could have happened.”

Inspector Graham Banks said investigators would analyse data from a specialist sonar vessel and hoped to locate the plane today.

“We were hopeful of (finding the plane yesterday) because we saw the basic area where it landed,” he said.

“It’s just (about) finding the impact zone again.”

Police revealed the plane was heading to King Island when disaster struck. Air traffic controllers did not receive a mayday call.

Insp Banks said police were searching a 30m deep section of ocean — about 500sq m.

“We haven’t located the main fuselage of the plane and we haven’t located the fourth person,” he said.

“It is our belief the fourth person is still in the plane.

“Police have managed to speak to all families, at this stage they are in shock.”

Point Lonsdale resident John Joubert was out on his boat when he heard the plane moments before it crashed.

“I found a life jacket floating past my boat still in its plastic bag, so they must not have had a chance to use it,” he said.

Melbourne resident Johnny Kay said he was driving into Queenscliff when he saw a plane flying “quite low”.

“The weather was horrible — windy, raining, foggy. It was a terrible day,” he said.

“It’s horrible and devastating for everyone involved.”

The state coroner and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau are investigating.

Collision with water involving Piper Aircraft Corp PA-28-235, VH-PXD, 33 km SSE of Avalon Airport, Victoria on January 29, 2016

Investigation number: AO-2016-006

Investigation status: Active
Investigation in progress


The ATSB is investigating an accident where a Piper PA-28-235 aircraft collided with water near Point Lonsdale, Port Phillip Bay, Victoria.

Two ATSB investigators with expertise in engineering and human factors will deploy to Melbourne tomorrow morning to examine recovered wreckage components and interview witnesses. They are expected to be on site for around two to three days.

Any witnesses are requested to contact the ATSB on 1800 020 616.

Aviation safety investigation & report:

Australian Aircraft Registration Details:

Crash victim Ian Chamberlain in front of the plane.

Plane crash victim Don Hateley with his daughter Elizabeth on a previous flight.

Recovered debris from the crashed plane.

Police and SES crews continue to search for a fourth person after a plane crash between Barwon Heads and Port Lonsdale on Victoria's Bellarine Peninsula.

Four people were onboard the plane when it plunged into the ocean in poor weather off Collendina Beach, just after midday on Friday.

Three bodies were recovered from the wreckage and another person is missing, feared dead.

A 68-year-old man from Noble Park, a 55-year-old man from Mordialloc and a man and a woman aged in their 60s from Black Rock, all in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, when it took off from Moorabbin airport.

Geelong and the Surf Coast will be bustling today, with the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race people's ride expected to draw thousands of cyclists to the area, ahead of the main race on Sunday.

The course will take participants through Barwon Heads.

Inspector Graham Banks said police and the SES would search along beaches in the area for debris.

"We are expecting a number of SES volunteers together with Police to commence a search of the beach areas in and around Port Lonsdale," he said.

"We're hoping in doing that to find some debris from the plane. We've also got search and rescue and water police at the crash-site itself and we're hoping to find the main fuselage of the plane."

Inspector Banks urged anyone in the area who finds something to contact police.

"We anticipate that small items may wash up on the beach. If persons do locate such items we ask that they ring triple zero. Don't touch the item," he said.

"If you are in a boat and locate an item like this, we request that you do actually pull it out of the water and then contact police."

Police have confirmed that three men and a woman were on a light plane that crashed off the coast near Point Lonsdale on Friday afternoon.

A 68-year-old Noble Park man, a 63-year-old Black Rock woman, a 65-year-old Black Rock man and a 55-year-old Mordialloc man were on board the aircraft that took off from Moorabbin airport in the morning.

Three bodies have been recovered from the water. It is believed the fourth person was also killed, but their body is yet to be located.

Late on Friday night a Victoria Police spokeswoman said the families of the deceased people had been notified, but the bodies were yet to be formally identified.

The search of the area was called off for the night just before 8pm. It will resume again early on Saturday morning.

Inspector Graham Banks, of Geelong police, said a fisherman had seen the plane come down at 12.30pm on Friday about two kilometres off Collendina Beach, which runs between Point Lonsdale and Barwon Heads.

"He called police shortly thereafter. He was in a boat and he went out and observed that clearly a plane had impacted the water and dispersed over a wide area and there were three persons that were clearly deceased at that time," Inspector Banks said.

The witness, who was within a kilometre of the crash, heard the roar of the plane's engine before seeing it plunge on its side into the water.

Another fisherman described following an oil slick in the ocean before locating the wreckage, which had sunk to the water's bottom. He, and others, volunteered to help with grid searches to locate parts of the wreckage.

The plane flew from Moorabbin Airport, but police would not reveal where the plane was headed to. There was no distress call made by the aircraft - a six seater Piper PA-28 Cherokee.

The crash site appears to be near the wreck of the HMAS Canberra, a former navy vessel that was sunk to create a dive site in 2009. The main part of the plane has sunk about 30 metres into the ocean.

It is not yet known what caused the plane to go into the water. Two Australian Transport Safety Bureau Investigators with expertise in engineering and "human factors" will head to the scene tomorrow.

They are expected to remain there for two or three days and will examine recovered wreckage and interview witnesses.

As debris began washing ashore near Point Lonsdale on Friday afternoon, disaster victim identification police arrived along with the coroner to begin the grim forensic examination.

Boats from several organisations, including Parks Victoria, are assisting in an expanding square search from the initial site in a bid to find debris. Two air ambulance helicopters were sent in response to the crash.

Fishermen Peter Lewry and Graeme McLean said they saw a light plane flying low in the sky off the Queenscliff bay.

"We both commented to each other how low it was coming out of the rain," Mr Lewry said.

"The engine was fine; there was no coughing or spluttering."

He said the conditions for flying were bad. "It was very wet, extremely overcast," he said. 

There were no requests for emergency landing at two of the airports closest to the crash, at Torquay and Barwon Heads.

A spokesman for Barwon Heads Airport said conditions had been "marginal", and that helicopter flights from the aerodrome had been cancelled on Friday because of the weather.

Members of the Ocean Grove Surf Lifesaving Club are assisting at the scene of the crash.

The Queenscliff boat ramp will be closed on Saturday while police search the area and assess any wreckage from the crash. 

Story, video and photo gallery:

The search is continuing for a fourth person believed to have died after a small plane plunged into the ocean off the Victorian coast.

Three bodies have been retrieved from water just off Barwon Heads, near Geelong, but police say they believe a fourth person was also on the light passenger plane.

'We believe there is a fourth (person),' Inspector Graham Banks told reporters in Queenscliff on Friday.

'We don't believe any of the victims were children.'

A fisherman witnessed the plane, which took off from Moorabbin Airport, crash into the water about 12.30pm on Friday, where it remains submerged about 30m below the water, police say.

There was no distress call made by the aircraft.

The bodies already recovered, reported to be two men and a woman, are being kept on a police boat at the location as police await the arrival of Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) experts.

No further details about the bodies have been released as police have yet to contact next of kin.

On Friday afternoon the car park of the Queenscliff boat ramp was filled with local police, SES, water police and search and rescue teams, who continued to comb the shore and wade through water, gathering debris which may point to the cause of the crash.

The search zone is about 200 square metres, but may increase as the tide changes.

Victoria Police spokeswoman Creina O'Grady said the rescue effort would continue until nightfall.

'But it depends on whether they think they're close to finding something, and hence they may stay out a bit longer,' she told AAP.

The main body of the plane is expected to be brought to shore on Saturday.

Insp Banks said they were yet to establish whether the plane, which crashed about 2km off Collendina Beach - which runs between Point Lonsdale and Barwon Heads - was a private or a tourist aircraft.

The fisherman, who was just one kilometre from the crash, was still 'extremely distressed', Insp Banks said.

Police wouldn't say where the plane had been heading.

'We would have to hope the identifications of these persons and the next of kin are notified before nightfall. That is what we hope to do,' Insp Banks said.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau will arrive from Canberra on Saturday to investigate the crash site.

- Story and video:

Three people have been confirmed dead, and police are searching for a fourth, after a plane crashed into the water at Barwon Heads on Victoria's Bellarine Peninsula. 

Geelong local area commander Inspector Graham Banks said a fisherman observed what is believed to be a four-seater plane crash into the sea two kilometres off Collendina Beach at 12:30pm.

"Shortly thereafter he called police who attended, the water police attended and located what was a large area of wreckage and three deceased persons," Inspector Banks said.

"Currently police are in the process of searching for further wreckage and possible other persons involved, although we don't believe there will be more than one or two persons involved at most because we believe the plane was a four-seater plane."

Inspector Banks said it was believed the plane left from Moorabbin.

Two coastguard boats and two air ambulance helicopters were dispatched to the crash scene.

Three police boats, numerous SES personnel and a number of police are also involved in the search, Inspector Banks said.

"Police are currently conducting a search of the area in conjunction with the SES and we're looking for further wreckage that may or may not wash up onto the shore," he said.

The cause of the crash is not yet known.

"At this stage we are seeking witnesses for the event, and anyone who did witness this event we would ask that they please call Crime Stoppers," Inspector Banks said.

He said if people found debris on the beach in the next few days to call triple-0 and leave it where it is.

Australian Volunteer Coast Guard in Victoria is searching for debris, and earlier said they believed the plane was a six-seater.

Three people have been confirmed dead after a light plane crashed into water in Barwon Heads, near Geelong.

Water Police, the Coast Guard and two air ambulances are at the scene after the plane crashed near Bridge Road just before 12.30pm.

Aerial images from the 9NEWS helicopter appeared to show an oil slick and debris on the surface of the water.

The plane is believed to be a six-seater aircraft. 

"Police and emergency services are currently at the scene of an incident in Barwon Heads where a plane has gone into the water," a Victoria Police spokeswoman said.

"The incident occurred just before 12.30pm near Bridge Road. At this stage we believe a number of people are deceased.

"The cause of the incident is not yet known and we will provide further details once they come to hand."

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Visibility was 'really bad' on the water off Barwon Heads today.

Air ambulance over scene of reported plane crash near Barwon Heads, Victoria. Several passengers feared dead.

Victorian Police have confirmed an ‘unknown number’ of people have died after a plane crash Barwon Heads near Geelong.

Local media are reporting five people were killed when a small plane hit the water at 12:30pm local time this afternoon.

Two rescue helicopters have been sent to the scene and have been seen searching the area where the plane went down.

There are no further details regarding the incident at this stage.