Thursday, April 27, 2017

Nanchang CJ-6A, N192NG, G&C CJ6 LLC: Fatal accident occurred April 27, 2017 in Keene, Kern County, California

Gutierrez, Gilbert

Gilbert Gutierrez was a successful registered professional engineer and philanthropist who passed away at age 75 on April 27, 2017. Gilbert was born in Gallup, NM and raised in Albuquerque, NM and Winslow, AZ working at his father's service stations. He joined the army in 1963 and was later honorably discharged. From the military he attended Arizona State University and received both a BSE and MSE in chemical engineering. After getting married and having two sons, he founded and operated a successful engineering business in 1980 that still is in operation today. During his professional career he served on several boards including but not limited to the EPA, Selective Service, and the Professional Engineering Review Board of the State of Arizona. He has been involved in Rotary for over 20 years and started flying, his dream in 2001. He passed away following his dream. He loved his family and did everything he could to help and be there for them. That love and assistance extended beyond his family through his charity work, friendships, and stopping for the random person on the street that needed a helping hand. Always proud and humble, never wanting to draw attention to himself, he will be missed dearly. He is survived by his wife, Candice; sons, Gilbert (Eugenia) and Andrew (Christine); grandchildren, Summer, Jack, and Jayla; exchange student daughters, Geziely, Melinda, and Gealle; and 2 brothers and 2 sisters. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the International Rotary Foundation ( using the donation button on the bottom of their Web page. A public memorial will be held May 12, 2017 at 2:30pm at Calvary Community Church, 12612 N Black Canyon Hwy, Phoenix, AZ 85029.

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fresno, California

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report -  National Transportation Safety Board:



NTSB Identification: WPR17FA091
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, April 27, 2017 in Keene, CA
Aircraft: NANCHANG CJ6A, registration: N192NG
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 April 27, 2017, about 1350 Pacific daylight time, a Nanchang CJ6A, N192NG, was destroyed when it impacted terrain near Keene, California. The private pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to G&C CJ6 LLC, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The cross-country flight originated from the Apple Valley Airport, Apple Valley (APV), California, about 1255, with an intended destination of Porterville, California.

Information provided by friends of the pilot, who were part of a four-airplane formation flight revealed that the flight originally departed from Phoenix, Arizona earlier in the morning, with a fuel stop at APV. Following lunch and a brief delay for weather, the flight of four departed APV, enroute to Porterville. As the flight neared Tehachapi, California, they were at an altitude of about 7,500 feet mean sea level (msl), maintaining separation from an overcast to broken cloud layer throughout the area. As they passed Tehachapi, the flight began a shallow descent. During the descent, the lead pilot lost sight of the accident pilot, who was positioned in the number two position (left of the lead pilot, in a diamond formation) and asked the accident pilot if he was ok. The accident pilot responded to the lead pilot that he was ok.

A short time later, the lead pilot asked the accident pilot a second time if he was ok, in which the pilot responded he was. Subsequently, the pilot who was in the slot position (in trail of the lead pilot) reported that the accident pilot was behind his position and lower, and eventually lost sight of him and maneuvered to reestablish visual contact unsuccessfully. The pilot who was flying in the number 3 position (right side of lead), reported shortly after that the pilot in the slot position lost sight of the accident pilot, he observed the accident pilot fly into a cloud layer while in a wings level, slightly nose low attitude, behind and lower than his position. The formation flight never reestablished radio or visual contact with the accident pilot.

A witness who was in a vehicle nearby the accident reported that they observed an airplane descend from a cloud layer in an almost vertical attitude until they lost sight of it behind a mountain.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted hilly terrain about 5.5 miles northwest of the Tehachapi Airport. The airplane came to rest in an almost vertical attitude on a heading of about 249 degrees magnetic. All of the major structural components of the airplane were located within about 100 feet of the main wreckage. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

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

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) --  Authorities have identified the Phoenix pilot who crashed his plane in Kern County Thursday night as 75-year-old Gilbert Gutierrez.

As pilots prepared to take off and land at the Porterville Municipal Airport, what happened to one of their own raced across the runway with them.

"It's a brotherhood," one pilot said. "And we're obviously sad to hear of the passing of one of the pilots."

Gutierrez was traveling from Phoenix to the Central Valley when his single-engine, older model plane went down in Kern County. He was less than a hundred miles away from his destination."

"We were expecting that particular aircraft to show up for this event for this clinic and when we heard the news we put two and two together," pilot Gal Lipaz said.

Lipaz says he and Gutierrez not only flew the same aircraft but were both participating in basic military formation training at an event called All Red Star.

It is here that pilots learn safe maneuvering techniques while also having a little fun.

"He has been flying with us for many years," he said. "Very likable guy, and, you know, it's very sad."

It's especially tragic since he was not able to park his aircraft on the tarmac and reconnect with the guys on his annual trip. So, a group of men held a moment of silence for Gutierrez Thursday night.

"We will miss him," Lipaz said. "We feel for him and mostly we feel for the family."

Now the FAA and the NTSB are both investigating, it is unknown at this time what caused the plane to crash. But the FAA says any plane, especially ones like these that are restored, has to get an airworthiness certificate before going up into the air.

Story and video:

KEENE, CA -  A 75-year-old pilot has died while heading to a California gathering of vintage Soviet airplanes.

Kern County coroner's officials say Gilbert Thomas Gutierrez of Phoenix, was killed in Thursday's crash.

His Nanchang CJ-6A aircraft went down near the town of Keene, about 75 miles north of Los Angeles.

The plane was on its way to an event called "All Red Star" in Porterville. It's an annual gathering of enthusiasts of former Soviet and Communist Bloc aircraft.

Original article can be found here:

A 75-year-old Phoenix man was killed Thursday when the plane he was piloting crashed near Tehachapi.

The Kern County Coroner’s office said Gilbert Thomas Gutierrez, 75, was found dead at the scene of the crash in the 22800 block of Broome Road, near the historic Tehachapi Loop rail line. The coroner’s office said it would conduct a postmortem autopsy on May 1.

KEENE — One person died in a plane crash Thursday afternoon, Kern County Fire Department Capt. Jason Knaggs said near the crash site.

A passerby reported seeing a Nanchang Yak-18A plane go down on the side of the mountain northeast of Highway 58, about a mile from the highway, Knaggs said, and reported it to officials at 1:56 p.m.

"The Nanchang CJ-6A crashed under unknown circumstances near Keene," Allen Kenitzer from the FAA Office of Communications wrote in an email to Tehachapi News and The Bakersfield Californian. He added that one person was on the plane.

Firefighters from Keene searched the area by helicopter and found the crash site at 2:40 p.m. They lowered a firefighter to the scene in a hoist operation and secured the area, Knaggs said.

The plane was in pieces. There was no indication of a fire, Knaggs said.

A command post for responding agencies was set up at Highway 58 and Broome Road, firefighters said.

In addition to the fire department, California Highway Patrol and Kern County Sheriff's Office personnel were at the scene. Later in the evening, deputies were awaiting the FAA to arrive and take over the investigation, sheriff's Senior Deputy Pat McNeal.

Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate, Kenitzer wrote.

Original article can be found here:

KEENE, Calif. - We now know the name of the man killed in a plane crash near Keene. The coroner identified him as Gilbert Thomas Gutierrez, 75, from Phoenix, Arizona.

Officials got a report from a passerby who said she saw a plane hit the side of a mountain around 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon near Keene, California.

A Kern County Fire helicopter spotted the wreckage at 2:40 p.m. after performing a hoist operation. The firefighter who was lowered to the ground confirmed one person was dead in the crash.

The plane was confirmed as a Nanchang CJ-6A, FAA officials confirmed.  The plane appears to be registered out of Phoenix, Arizona.

A command post was being set up at Broome Road and Highway 58, between Keene and Tehachapi, a KCFD official said.

Original article can be found here:

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - UPDATE (9:03 a.m.): The Kern County Coroner's Office has identified the man killed in Thursday's plane crash as 75-year-old Gilbert Gutierrez of Phoenix. 

One person is dead after a plane crashed near Keene on Thursday afternoon, the Kern County Fire Department said.

"A Nanchang CJ-6A crashed under unknown circumstances near Keene," Federal Aviation Administration Public Affairs Manager Ian Gregor said.

KCFD received the call about the possible crash at 2:08 p.m. and launched a helicopter to search for the plane; the aircraft was later found in a remote area. The Kern County Sheriff's Department is searching the area for any other potential casualties.

KCFD crews have a command post set up in the area of Highway 58 and Broome Road, and the FAA and NTSB are also investigating.  It wasn't immediately clear what may have led up to the crash.

Story and video:


Chief Rick said...

Sad news for the Sport Flying family, and extended war bird group. We folk's of the local area send our condolence's to the family. The day's surrounding crash we were experiencing extremely high winds. High wind's, turbulence leading to structural failure, head wind leading to fuel starvation, come to mind for possible issue's regarding this accident. This is a pretty heavy duty trainer, and somewhat forgiving aircraft to fly according to the people I know who have time in this type. May god bless all involved.

Anonymous said...

Range of Nanchang CJ6 without head wind = 425 miles
Phoenix to Porterville = 434 miles
Phoenix to Bakersfield = 425 miles
Phoenix to Keene = 390 miles

Jesse said...

Lack of post accident fire seems unusual given the extend of damage seen in photos, and the combustible landscape it impacted. Purely unhelpful speculation, I know...

Larry said...

If the range of a Nanchang CJ6A without head winds is 425 miles, he should have landed in Mojave to refuel. If he were trying to go (434 miles) from Phoenix to Porterville non-stop, it seems he ran out of gas about where Keene is. If this is true, the cause of the crash is pilot error.

I have flown the Phoenix to Bakersfield route in a Piper Apache, and it got very bumpy over the Mojave desert. The pilot was a Reno Air Race winner, and his decision was to land in Mojave and go the rest of the way in a car.

Anonymous said...

The pilot was an engineer who modified the stock fuel system many years ago to extend the range of the plane. Other pilots with the same plane have used his modification successfully too. This was not the first time he flew this route. It seems like a good idea to wait until the official investigation is completed rather than speculate on causes, especially pilot error when the pilot is no longer able to defend himself against those second guessing what happened based on limited information.

Anonymous said...

I was flying from Prescott to Fresno via Palmdale that day and had to divert to KWJF due to the severe turbulence and mountain wave activity. I can only imagine how much stronger it was where he was. I called the flight and diverted just before going over the mountains by Tehachapi.

Anonymous said...

For the people that are speculating fuel exhaustion and pilot error, you did not read the preliminary NTSB report. The 4-ship departed Deer Valley airport and landed at Apple Valley airport for fuel and lunch. They then departed Apple Valley for the shorter leg to Porterville.

Anonymous said...

This is very sad news to me as I was his initial flight instructor out of KGEU. He was a very likable guy and A good student. I feel sad for his family and all that knew him.