Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Socata TB-20 Trinidad, N28070: Fatal accident occurred April 17, 2017 in Loyalton, California

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Reno, Nevada

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N28070

NTSB Identification: WPR17FAMS3 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 17, 2017 in Loyalton, CA
Aircraft: SOCATA TB 20 TRINIDAD, registration: N28070
Injuries: Unavailable

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 17, 2017, about 1600 Pacific daylight time, a Socata TB-20 Trinidad, N28070, departed Truckee-Tahoe Airport (TRK), Truckee, California. Since that time, the private pilot and one passenger have not been located, and the airplane is missing. Radar track data was lost when the airplane was about 16 nautical miles north of TRK, and is presumed to have crashed in remote mountainous terrain. The personal cross-country flight was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulator Part 91. There was no record that the pilot had filed a flight plan.

TRK airport operations personnel reported that about the time the airplane departed, lowering cloud bases were observed west of the airport, which would have been the direction of flight en route to O69. However, the pilot elected to depart to the north in an area where higher cloud bases existed.

Search and rescue efforts commenced the morning following the disappearance of the airplane, April 18th, and were subsequently suspended during the evening of April 23rd. To date the airplane has not been located, and an emergency locator signal has not been reported.

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


Mark and Brenda Richard
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The bodies of Brenda and Mark Richard, the Santa Rosa couple whose single-engine airplane went missing last month in the Sierra Nevada mountains, have been found, Sierra County Sheriff’s officials said Friday.

Sheriff Tim Standley said a recreational snowmobiler found a piece of the plane’s tail in the snow on Tuesday. Authorities confirmed the discovery early Wednesday and on Thursday found the bodies, in the separated cockpit buried in six to seven feet of snow.

Officials said the couple’s family have been notified of the discovery, in a remote area southeast of Yuba Pass in Sierra County.

“Our hearts go out to the Richards, to their friends who have called for information, to the family that have called in,” Standley said. “It’s a great tragedy.”

Undersheriff Robert Yegge said an autopsy to determine cause of death is underway.

The couple flew out of Truckee Tahoe Airport April 17 headed for Petaluma. At the time of their takeoff around 4 p.m., the temperature was 41 degrees with overcast skies and wind gusts exceeding 20 mph. A friend of the couple last month described Brenda Richard, 53, as a good pilot familiar with flying in the mountains.

The couple were in their white-and-blue single-engine Socata TB-20 Trinidad and were thought to have crashed in a 400-square-mile stretch of rugged backcountry in Sierra County, 18 miles northwest of Truckee. The general location of the plane was determined by radar and cellphone data. On April 23, after six days of unsuccessfully scouring the rough terrain, a search effort was called off.

Standley said it appears the plane struck a tree and split apart. He said he believes centrifugal force caused by the impact flung the cockpit and engine deep into powdery snow. Subsequent snowstorms encased the cockpit in icy, hard-packed snow, he said.

The tail portion of the plane that was found by the snowmobiler was located under a thick tree canopy, he said.

The area had been previously surveyed by rescue aircraft, but the wreckage would not have been visible due to the tree canopy, Standley said.

After the Sheriff’s Office received the report of the wreckage, Standley organized a party to search for the Richards. Standley said the team included those who had previously spent days last month searching for the plane.

The team, which included snowmobiles and specially equipped all-terrain vehicles, went out in snowy weather on Wednesday night. They found the plane by 2:30 a.m. but could not immediately find the cockpit, officials said.

On Thursday morning, a team went out with shovels to dig in the snow. The team found the cockpit and the couple, deceased, inside. Local investigators and federal agencies confirmed the bodies were that of Brenda, 53, and Mark, 54.

The Richards have four adult daughters, Lauren, Madeline, Ashley and Danielle, and a young grandchild, according to neighbors in Santa Rosa.

Original article can be found here:  http://www.pressdemocrat.com







Authorities found a missing airplane, which crashed while carrying a married couple from Truckee to Petaluma, California, in mid-April, after receiving a tip from a citizen.

The plane was found on Tuesday in a remote area southeast of Yuba Pass in Sierra County, according to the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities found two occupants in the plane, later identified as 54-year-old Mark Steven Richard and his 53-year-old wife, Brenda Jane Richard. Both were reported missing on April 18 after they failed to land on schedule.

The couple departed at about 4 p.m. on April 17 from the Truckee Tahoe Airport in a small four-seat Socata TB20 Trinidad with tail No. N28070. They were scheduled to land at the Petaluma Municipal Airport, but they never arrived, Sierra County Sheriff’s deputies said in a previous news release.

Early the next morning, authorities with the Office of Emergency Services in California notified Sierra County deputies that the plane was overdue. 

Investigators with the Civil Air Patrol and the U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center conducted radar analysis and traced the couple’s cellphones. They narrowed the search to an area near Yuba Pass Road, between Webber Lake and Jackson Meadow. The area is about 22 miles northwest of Truckee.



Authorities said they extensively searched the area with the help of the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue Team as well as other agencies in California.

Neighboring agencies from Nevada also helped in the search. But the search was later suspended after authorities failed to find the missing plane.

John Clausen, 58, who works as a sales representative for Granite Chief in Olympic Valley, Calif., often spends his time hiking and skiing in the Tahoe-area.

The former sports photographer said he was enjoying several hours riding around in his snowmobile when he came across torn pieces of the plane. He walked around the area and found that a large portion of the plane was still intact, he said.

“I didn’t look inside to see if there was anyone there,” Clausen said.

He said he felt surprised that a small plane would even survive a crash in the rugged mountainous area. He found the plane between Yuba Pass and Webber Lake—the same general area where authorities believed the plane had crashed.

“There was no way anyone could have found it because of the thick forest and the deep snow,” Clausen said. “My first thought was, ‘Wow!’”

Clausen said the trailhead where he was riding his snowmobile “easily had 2 to 3 feet of snow.” And the area where he found the plane was covered in even more snow.

“It was like finding a needle in the haystack,” he said. “I was not looking for it. I was just enjoying several hours of snowmobiling.”

Original article can be found here: http://www.rgj.com




May 19, 2017 – On Tuesday, April 18, 2017 the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office initiated a search effort based on a report of an overdue aircraft reported as traveling from Truckee to Petaluma California the previous day. The overdue aircraft was reported to have been occupied by Brenda Jane Richard, age 53 (Reported Pilot) and Mark Steven Richard age 54 (Reported Passenger), a married couple both of Santa Rosa California.

An extensive search was performed by members of the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue Team as well as numerous agencies from throughout the state, in addition to neighboring agencies from Nevada providing mutual aid to the extensive search effort. The search was later suspended with no evidence of the missing aircraft discovered.

On Tuesday, May 16, 2017 the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office responded to a citizen report of an airplane crash in a remote area south/east of Yuba Pass in Sierra County. Upon locating the crash site, the Sierra County Sheriff's Office was able to determine the crashed airplane was that of the missing aircraft from the April 18, 2017 search effort.

A subsequent investigation by the sheriff’s office as well as federal agencies confirmed two occupants on board the aircraft. Both occupants were found deceased and later identified as Brenda Jane Richard and Mark Steven Richard. The family of the couple has been notified. The Sierra County Sheriff's Office extends our deepest condolences to the friends and family of Mark & Brenda Richard.

Original article can be found here: https://yubanet.com

Authorities found a missing airplane, which crashed while carrying a married couple from Truckee to Petaluma, Calif. in mid-April, after receiving a tip from a citizen.

The plane was found on Tuesday in a remote area southeast of Yuba Pass in Sierra County, according to the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities found two occupants in the plane, later identified as 54-year-old Mark Steven Richard and his 53-year-old wife, Brenda Jane Richard. Both were reported missing on April 18 after they failed to land on schedule.

The couple departed at about 4 p.m. on April 17 from the Truckee Tahoe Airport in a small four-seat Socata TB20 Trinidad with tail No. N28070. They were scheduled to land at the Petaluma Municipal Airport, but they never arrived, Sierra County Sheriff’s deputies said in a previous news release.

Early the next morning, authorities with the Office of Emergency Services in California notified Sierra County deputies that the plane was overdue. Investigators with the Civil Air Patrol and the U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center conducted radar analysis and traced the couple’s cellphones. They narrowed the search to an area near Yuba Pass Road, between Webber Lake and Jackson Meadow. The area is about 22 miles northwest of Truckee.

Authorities said they extensively searched the area with the help of the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue Team as well as other agencies in California.

Neighboring agencies from Nevada also helped in the search. But the search was later suspended after authorities failed to find the missing plane.

John Clausen, 58, who works as a sales representative for Granite Chief in Olympic Valley, Calif., often spends his time hiking and skiing in the Tahoe-area.

The former sports photographer said he was enjoying several hours riding around in his snowmobile when he came across torn pieces of the plane. He walked around the area and found that a large portion of the plane was still intact, he said.

“I didn’t look inside to see if there was anyone there,” Clausen said.

He said he felt surprised that a small plane would even survive a crash in the rugged mountainous area. He found the plane between Yuba Pass and Webber Lake—the same general area where authorities believed the plane had crashed.

“There was no way anyone could have found it because of the thick forest and the deep snow,” Clausen said. “My first thought was, ‘Wow!’”

Clausen said the trailhead where he was riding his snowmobile “easily had 2 to 3 feet of snow.” And the area where he found the plane was covered in even more snow.

“It was like finding a needle in the haystack,” he said. “I was not looking for it. I was just enjoying several hours of snowmobiling.”


Original article can be found here: http://www.rgj.com

The Civil Air Patrol ended its search Monday morning for the missing airplane that was carrying a couple from Truckee to Petaluma, California.

Deputies with the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office unsuccessfully searched for the aircraft along the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Authorities decided to suspend the search at about 9 p.m. on Sunday.

“We are extremely disappointed in the outcome of this search,” Incident Commander Maj. Shane Terpstra of the Civil Air Patrol said in news release on Monday.

“We always hope for a fast resolution with missing aircraft searches, but rapidly changing weather compounded with fresh snow worked against us this entire search,” Terpstra said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”

Mark Richard and his wife, Brenda, departed from the Truckee Tahoe Airport on April 17. Their four-seat Socata TB20 Trinidad was scheduled to land at the Petaluma Municipal Airport, but it never arrived, authorities said.

The Civil Air Patrol was notified shortly after midnight the following day by the U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center located at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.

For six days, authorities from various agencies searched an area 18 miles northwest of Truckee. Civil Air Patrol aircrews from California and Nevada took photos of the search area, which they described as rugged, heavily-wooded and snow-covered.

Crews logged more than 60 flight hours over the area.

Civil Air Patrol volunteers reviewed more than 8,000 digital images of the search area, which was taken by cameras that were mounted on the search planes.

More than 117 volunteers with the Civil Air Patrol helped in the search. That included crews from the California National Guard. The California Highway Patrol also used aircrafts to help with the search.

In total, the Civil Air Patrol used 15 aircraft and 12 vehicles during the search.

Original article can be found here:   http://www.rgj.com

Civil Air Patrol concluded its operations Monday morning in the search for a missing aircraft with two persons on board in the Sierra Nevada mountain range after the

search was suspended by the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office at 9 p.m. Sunday night. The aircraft has not been found.

The Socata TB-20 Trinidad took off April 17 from the Truckee-Tahoe Airport in Truckee and never arrived at its intended destination of Petaluma Municipal Airport. Civil Air Patrol was activated for the search shortly after midnight Tuesday by the U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.

Aerial assets from the California Highway Patrol and California National Guard also participated in the multi-agency search, as did CAP ground teams and those from multiple agencies. The search was conducted in a unified command in support of the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office.

Throughout the six-day search, CAP aircrews from California and Nevada conducted visual and photographic searches while logging more than 60 flight hours over the rugged, heavily-wooded and snow-covered search area located 18 miles northwest of Truckee. 

CAP volunteers on the ground reviewed more than 8,000 high resolution digital images of the search area, which were captured by wing-mounted cameras on the CAP search planes. 

“We are extremely disappointed in the outcome of this search,” said CAP Incident Commander Maj. Shane Terpstra. “We always hope for a fast resolution with missing aircraft searches, but rapidly changing weather compounded with fresh snow worked against us this entire search. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”

More than 117 CAP volunteers, 15 CAP aircraft and 12 CAP vehicles participated in the search.


Story and video:   http://www.ktvn.com

Authorities resumed their search Sunday morning for a Santa Rosa couple whose Petaluma-bound plane went missing on April 17 after taking off from Truckee.

Two Civil Air Patrol planes took off around 10 a.m. to search for Mark and Brenda Richard’s white-and-blue Socata TB-20 Trinidad, said Maj. Kathy Johnson, spokeswoman for the Civil Air Patrol. A third plane left in the afternoon to assist.

The patrol suspended its search Saturday afternoon because of strong winds above an area of the Sierra Nevada mountain range where the plane had last been tracked by radar and cellphone information.

The Civil Air Patrol, along with the California National Guard, the CHP and local authorities are focusing on a 270-square-mile area located 18 miles northwest of the Truckee-Tahoe Airport, Johnson said.

Fresh snow on the mountain range has made it difficult to spot the aircraft, especially because the plane’s bottom is white, Johnson said.

“Everything is covered in snow,” she said. “They had fresh snow just after they went missing.”

Flight crews have taken more than 8,000 high-resolution images within the past week to try to pinpoint where the aircraft might have landed, Johnson said.


“It takes about five minutes a photo to go through,” she said. “As you can imagine, it’s a huge undertaking.”

Original article can be found here: http://www.pressdemocrat.com

A Civil Air Patrol aircrew from California Wing is briefed Wednesday, April 19, 2017, in Sacramento, during a search for a missing aircraft near the Sierra Nevada mountain range with two persons on board. The Civil Air Patrol was activated for the search early Tuesday morning by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.



Rescue crews continued to scour the Sierra Nevada on Sunday as the search for a Santa Rosa couple and the single-engine plane they were piloting stretched into its sixth day.

The Civil Air Patrol launched three planes Sunday morning to conduct visual and photographic searches of an area about 18 miles northwest of Truckee.

The California Highway Patrol and the Air National Guard also have planes in the air to complement a ground search being led by the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office.

The plane, a four-seat Socata TB-20 Trinidad, took off from Truckee-Tahoe Airport just before 4 p.m. last Monday, the CAP said. The plane was being piloted by Brenda and Mark Richards of Santa Rosa.

Family members reported the aircraft as overdue when it failed to arrive at its intended destination at Petaluma Municipal Airport, about 180 miles away.




An aerial photo taken by a Civil Air Patrol aircrew Wednesday afternoon, April 19, 2017, shows snow, tree covering, and rugged terrain in an area of the Sierra Nevada mountain range being searched for a missing aircraft with two people on board. The Civil Air Patrol was activated for the search early Tuesday morning by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. Air and ground teams from multiple agencies are participating in the search. 


Weather hampered Thursday’s search efforts for a Santa Rosa couple not heard from since taking off in their single-engine plane Monday afternoon from the Truckee-Tahoe Airport en route to Petaluma.

One surveillance flight was able to take off Thursday morning in the search for Mark and Brenda Richard’s Socata TB-20, which officials estimate disappeared five minutes after leaving the 5,900-foot elevation airport about 4 p.m. Monday.

In a statement released Thursday morning, the Richards’ family, which includes daughters Lauren, Madeline, Ashley and Danielle, remained hopeful.

“We have confidence in the search and rescue team and are grateful for the support and efforts of everyone involved,” the statement said.

“We are staying positive and would appreciate privacy at this time.”

When the Richards took off Monday in Truckee, the National Weather Service said it was 45 degrees, with a 6-mph southerly wind and 10-miles visibility.

But about 18 miles northwest of the airport where the Richards’ plane disappeared, the weather can be “drastically different,” said Hardy Bullock, director of aviation and community services for the airport. Because of the high altitude and rugged terrain, flying in and out of the mountain airport can be tricky..

It implemented a “Fly Aware” campaign posting signs at the airport and on its website to educate pilots about the unique circumstances.

“We have a pilot and passenger coordinator who walks around the airport, trying to catch passengers before they depart,” Bullock said, “to talk to them about the challenges that they’re going to face flying into and out of Truckee.”

Altitude, air density, changing weather and wind shear — the abrupt changes in wind speed and direction that can occur over the Sierra Nevada peaks — are among the hazards pilots face flying in and out of the mountain airport, Bullock said.

He said no airport staffers made contact Monday with the Richards and security footage shows they didn’t visit the terminal.

Robert Bousquet, board member of the Tahoe Flying Club based at the Truckee-Tahoe Airport, said a pilot flying a single-engine plane should consider the temperature drops 3 degrees for every thousand feet climbed.

“If you don’t have a plane that can climb through the weather with de-icing equipment, and get above it, then you don’t have a lot of other options other than to fly through it,” Bosquet said.

“So, if you’re at the freezing level, and it was pretty close on Monday ... and it was misting and kind of wet and rainy, those aren’t great plane conditions.”

With no de-icing equipment, a single-engine plane would have two options: Fly above the weather, or drop down to a low enough altitude for the ice to melt.

“The problem with flying a single-engine piston aircraft in the mountains is that you cannot descend to get rid of ice because you have the terrain beneath, and you can’t climb because ice disrupts the airflow over the wings, and produces less lift,” Bousquet said.

Because of the terrain and “desolate wilderness” surrounding the Truckee-Tahoe Airport, Bousquet creates his own flight plans that give him as many landing options as possible in an emergency. In eastern Sierra County, there aren’t many landing options, he said.

When flying to Petaluma, he said, there are two typical routes pilots take.

The most direct path is to Blue Canyon-Nyack Airport, just west of Truckee, and then Interstate 80 southwest before heading west to the Petaluma Airport.

Bousquet said the flight takes about an hour.

Neighbors of the Richards’ said Brenda Richards, the pilot, had been flying for several years.

“She was out flying quite a bit,” Don Jereb said.

Neighbor Tom Torgeson said a pilot friend relayed that Brenda Richards is known as a good pilot who “knows mountain flying.”

So far, search efforts have included the Civil Air Patrol and multiple other agencies, including more than 60 volunteers, nine aircraft and seven vehicles.

Nine sorties had been flown by midday Thursday, with more than 3,100 aerial photographs taken of the heavily wooded snow-covered area, where the snowpack can reach about 10  feet.

“This is truly a team effort and everyone is dedicated to the same goal of finding the aircraft,” said Civil Air Patrol Lt. Col. Crystal Housman.

Original article can be found here:   
http://www.petaluma360.com

Authorities expanded their search Saturday across the snow-covered northern Sierra Nevada for a single-engine plane flown by a Santa Rosa couple that went missing five days ago after taking off from Truckee.

Five search planes were criss-crossing a nearly 400 square mile area about 18 miles northwest of the Truckee-Tahoe Airport for any signs of Mark and Brenda Richard’s white and blue  Socata TB-20 Trinidad. The couple departed the airport Monday afternoon, bound for Petaluma.

“We’re flying grid patterns,” said Maj. Kathy Johnson, spokeswoman for the Civil Air Patrol. “It’s all divided up. Every plane has its own area. You search it methodically.”

Johnson said the search area has grown slightly from earlier in the week and is now 28 miles by 14 miles wide. The couple was tracked there by radar and cellphone information.

Searchers had clear weather Saturday morning but clouds were expected to close in by the afternoon. Snow on the ground coupled with the plane’s color have hampered search efforts so far, she said.

“When you’ve got a white plane it just blends in,” Johnson said.

Other aircraft from the CHP and state Air National Guard joined in the search Friday while numerous other agencies led by Sierra and Nevada county law enforcement conducted ground searches.

Original article can be found here: http://www.pressdemocrat.com

Members of Civil Air Patrol’s California Wing are helping the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office search for a missing Socata aircraft with two people on board.

Officials say the Socata TB-20 Trinidad left the Truckee-Tahoe Airport in Truckee, California, just before 4 pm on Monday and family members reported the aircraft was overdue Monday night it failed to arrive at Petaluma Municipal Airport.

The Socata is described as  a four-seat low wing aircraft that is blue and white with gold trim. It is equipped with a 406 MHz emergency locator transmitter (ELT), but officials say no satellite hits have come in from the beacon.

Civil Air Patrol was activated for the search shortly after midnight on Tuesday by the U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.

AFRCC say radar analysis and cell phone forensics were conducted overnight and they are narrowing the search to a rugged area of the Sierra Nevada mountain range northwest of Truckee.

Bad weather in the area prevented CAP aircrews from launching overnight and Tuesday morning, but three crews and aircraft are standing by for launch.

“Our hope is that the weather will clear and we can fly a visual search Tuesday afternoon,” said Civil Air Patrol incident commander Maj. Steven DeFord.

A California-based CAP aircrew from Auburn, and two Nevada Wing aircrews from Minden and Carson City are prepared to fly and do visual searches over the mountainous terrain once the weather clears.

A CAP ground team consisting of four search and rescue volunteers from Palo Alto and Sacramento say they are en route to assist Sierra County Sheriff’s Office search teams near Little Truckee Summit in the Tahoe National Forest.

Officials say there are 22 CAP volunteers, three CAP aircraft and one CAP vehicle being used in the search mission.

Tuesday evening there was a shift change at incident command and Civil Air Patrol incident commander Maj. David Boehm said, "We will be flying until sundown. If the aircraft is not located this evening, we plan to resume aerial search operations at sunrise, so long as the weather cooperates."

Boehm continued, "We want to find them, and we will search as long as we are needed."

Story and video:   http://www.ktvn.com

An airplane that departed from the Tahoe-Truckee Airport (KTRK) on Monday, April 17 has been reported missing.

According to a press release issued by the Civil Air Patrol, the plane departed the Truckee Airport yesterday around 4 p.m. The two people on board were heading for the Petaluma Municipal Airport (O69), but family members say they never arrived.

The Civil Air Patrol, which is an all-volunteer U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, is assisting the Sierra County Sheriff's Department with the search near Little Truckee Summit in Tahoe National Forest, northwest of the town of Truckee.

Civil Air Patrol Incident Commander Major David Boehm said Tuesday afternoon, "We will be flying until sundown. If the aircraft is not located this evening, we plan to resume aerial search operations at sunrise, so long as the weather permits."

The missing aircraft is equipped with an emergency location transmitter, though as of Tuesday afternoon no signal had been sent. The airplane is a four-seat low wing aircraft, known as a Socata TB-20 Trinidad. It is blue and white with gold trim.

“We want to find them, and we will search as long as we are needed,” he said.

The California Highway Patrol is also assisting in the search, according to Civil Air Patrol spokesperson Lt. Col. Crystal Housman.

Original article can be found here:   http://www.sierrasun.com

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