Sunday, June 4, 2017

Piper PA-28-180, N4871L: Fatal accident occurred June 04, 2017 in Moorpark, Ventura County, California

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys, California
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Piper Aircraft, Inc.; Vero Beach, Florida

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: WPR17FA120
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 04, 2017 in Moorpark, CA
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-180, registration: N4871L
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On June 4, 2017, about 1545 Pacific daylight time a Piper PA28-180, N4871L, collided with the ground in a residential neighborhood in Moorpark, California. The commercial pilot and his 15-year-old son passenger were fatally injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was being operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The cross-country flight departed Camarillo Airport, Camarillo, California, about 1445. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported to friends that he planned to fly to Santa Cruz Island (about 40 miles southwest of Camarillo), and then back over an equestrian neighborhood in Moorpark, where his daughter was receiving horse riding lessons.

The pilot's daughter was on her horse in an outdoor horse arena, and was accompanied by two riding instructors, one who was at her side, and another in an adjacent wash rack area. Both instructors reported seeing the airplane approach from the northwest and fly over the arena in a southeast direction. They stated that the pilot had flown over the area before, and although they could not definitively judge the airplane's altitude, it was about the same as on those prior occasions. The airplane then began a 180° left turn, tracking back past the arena and to the northwest. The pilot's daughter exclaimed to them that she could see her brother in the front left seat as the airplane passed by.

The airplane continued on the same track for about 1/3 of a mile, and as it overflew a house on the top of an adjacent hill it began to turn left. The witnesses reported that the engine started to "sputter," and then stop producing a sound. The airplane continued the turn, until it was now lined up on the original inbound track. The witnesses then heard the engine sound increase, as the airplane flew directly towards the arena, but now at a much lower altitude. The airplane continued to descend with the engine operating, and flew about 100 ft directly overhead, startling the horses.

Electrical power transmission lines were situated just to the east of the arena. Prior to reaching the lines, the airplane began a steep right turn, such that the witnesses could see the complete wing profile. One witness stated that the turn and engine sound were reminiscent of an airplane performing aerobatic maneuvers at an airshow. The turn progressed, with the nose pointing up, and then dropping back down, as the airplane passed out of view behind trees. The witnesses then heard two loud thuds, and immediately ran in the direction of the noise. They found the airplane in the center of another sand-covered horse arena, on an adjacent property, about 600 ft to the south of their arena.

Another witness, who was located on the accident property, recounted similar observations. He stated that the left turn following the initial pass was very aggressive, and that the engine was operating at that time. As the airplane came in for the second pass, he was shocked at how low it was flying. After overflying the arena, and just above the tree line, the airplane pulled up before reaching the power lines, and immediately rolled aggressively to the right.

The airplane came to rest in the middle of the arena, which was 175 ft long and 85 ft wide, and oriented north-south. Both horse arenas were bound to the east by three separate sets of power transmission lines running north-south. The lines were positioned 60, 85, and 180 ft east of the arena edges. The closest two sets of lines were hanging at an elevation of about 65 ft above ground level (agl), with the farthest line about 75 ft agl.

The first identified point of impact was a metallic 4-ft-long transfer mark on the closest power line. Fragments of sheet metal were found directly below that mark. The outboard right wingtip was about 30 ft south of that mark, and exhibited striation damage to the leading edge consistent with power line contact.

The airplane came to rest about 120 ft southwest of the initial power line impact location. The empennage was largely intact and upright. The remaining forward section of the airplane had folded back over the tailcone, and was inverted. The engine, instrument panel, and leading edges of both wings had sustained crush damage.

The pilot's son was located in the left seat of the airplane, which according to family members, was not unusual, as he had flown with his father from the left regularly since the age of 13. The airplane was equipped with dual controls.

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

CALABASAS, Calif. (KABC) -- The wife and mother of a Calabasas father and son killed in a single-engine plane crash in Ventura County Sunday confirmed the identities of the two victims.

The occupants of the plane were 57-year-old Jim Harlan from Calabasas and his 15-year-old son, Dylan. The coroner also independently released the victims' names.

Loved ones say Dylan lived life to the fullest. He was a member of the Burbank Bears Club hockey team, where he had recently made the AAA team.

"Plays hockey, surfs, dives, travels the world," said Dylan's hockey coach Peter Torsson. "On the day he died, he surfed in the morning and flew in the afternoon."

Dylan had a bright future ahead. According to Torsson, he was well on his way to becoming a student athlete at a Division 1 college.

Torsson said he always taught the boys he coached to play like it was their last shift. "I guess it was his last shift," Torsson said of Dylan, through tears.

The plane that the two were aboard, described as a single-engine Piper PA-28, crashed around 3:30 p.m. Sunday on private property near the 2700 block of Marvella Court, in an area of Ventura County near Thousand Oaks.

Witnesses reported seeing the plane fly low over the area before the crash. The aircraft clipped at least one power line before it crashed into a horse arena, according to authorities.

No one on the ground was injured.

Authorities did not have immediate information on the likely cause of the crash. The FAA and NTSB continue to investigate.

Story and video:

A father and son died Sunday afternoon after a small plane they were flying in  crashed in the Santa Rosa Valley, according to Ventura County Fire Department.

The victims, both from Calabasas, were a 57-year-old man and his 15-year-old son, said Capt. Garo Kuredjian, a spokesman for the Ventura County Sheriff's Office. There were no other occupants on the plane.

Authorities were alerted to the crash at 3:30 p.m. along the 2700 block of Marvella Court, near the Norwegian Grade on Moorpark Road.

This is the second fatal plane crash in Ventura County in four days. On Thursday, a single-engine Cessna 180 crashed in the hills east of Solimar Beach, killing the pilot later identified as Michael Brannigan, 52, of Lake Sherwood.

Authorities said the single-engine Piper PA-28 Cherokee originally took off from the Camarillo Airport. The cause of the crash was under investigation, according to authorities.

The plane crashed in a gated community called Hidden Meadow Estates, where properties include large portions of land, many with horse stables. 

According to Sheriff's officials, most of the airplane landed in the horse arena of a nearby residence. A piece of the wing landed on the other side of a nearby chain-link fence, and a third piece of debris landed about 100 feet away from the crash site, authorities said.

Officials from Southern California Edison confirmed one of their power lines had been struck by debris from the crash, causing minor damage. No other structures were reported to be damaged from the incident.

Steve Swindle, a fire engineer and spokesman with county fire, said the plane caught on fire after crashing but neighbors quickly extinguished the fire.

A neighbor in the area, Gary Blackwell was throwing a graduation party for his son at the time when he said he heard the plane crash. 

"I saw a plane flying super low," Blackwell said. "I heard it circle once, then twice, and then I heard a gigantic thud."

Blackwell said he didn't think much of it until his guests alerted him that they saw the plane go down.

Anne Carter, of Camarillo, was flying with her son and saw the plane before it crashed. She said her son had been flying their aircraft at 2,500 feet and she could see the Piper aircraft below them.

"I looked down and thought 'What are they doing? They're way too low. It's dangerous. You could crash into houses,'" Carter said.

Crews removed the bodies from the aircraft shortly before 8 p.m. Sunday night. They later worked to remove the aircraft from the location.

Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash. 

The California Highway Patrol also responded to the incident.

Story and video:

MOORPARK, Calif. - [Update: 6:15 p.m.] The two males that died in a single-engine plane crash Sunday afternoon in Ventura County were a father and son.

The 57-year-old father was piloting with his 15-year-old son when their plane went down in the Santa Rosa Valley near the towns of Camarillo, Thousand Oaks and Moorpark.

The father and son took off from Camarillo Airport. Their destination is unclear at this time.

Authorities say the two are both from Calabasas. Their families have been notified.

Two men are dead following a plane crash near Moorpark on Sunday afternoon.

The small plane went down at around 3:30 p.m. near Marvella Court in the Santa Rosa Valley.

The plane, described as a single-engine piper aircraft, crashed inside a horse enclosure on private property.

Two male occupants of the plane were pronounced dead at the scene. No one on the ground was injured.

Ventura County Fire, Ventura County Sheriff's Office and California Highway Patrol responded to the scene.

Fire hose crews were on hand but the crash did not spark a fire.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have been notified and are en route.

This is the second fatal plane crash in Ventura County in less than a week.

Original article can be found here:

Two people died after a small plane crashed Sunday in eastern Camarillo, on the edge of the Santa Rosa Valley, firefighters said.

Officials responded to a downed aircraft on private property 2700 block of Marvella Court around 4 p.m., according to alerts from the Ventura County Fire Department and California Highway Patrol.

The plane’s two occupants, a 57-year-old father and his 15-year-old son, were dead on arrival, VCFD Capt. Garo Kuredjian said.

Kuredjian could not identify the victims except to say they were Calabasas residents.

No bystanders on the ground were injured, officials said.

It was unclear what led to the crash, which occurred in an open, hilly area behind the Norwegian grade.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were traveling to the crash scene to investigate the incident.

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