Saturday, June 10, 2017

Visual Flight Rules encounter with Instrument Meteorological Conditions: Beech 95-C55, N3717Q; Fatal accident occurred June 09, 2017 in Mountain Ranch, Calaveras County, California

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Sacramento, California 
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Continental Motors Inc; Mobile, Alabama

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


Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms 
 
http://registry.faa.gov/N3717Q


Location: Mountain Ranch, CA
Accident Number: WPR17FA125
Date & Time: 06/09/2017, 1430 PDT
Registration: N3717Q
Aircraft: BEECH 95 C55
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: VFR encounter with IMC
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On June 9, 2017, at 1430 Pacific daylight time, a Beech 95-C55, N3717Q, impact heavily forested terrain near Mountain Ranch, California. The commercial pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The pilot/owner operated the airplane as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Marginal visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area of the accident site and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed Del Mar Farms Airport (CN99), Patterson, California, at 1348 and was destined for Columbia Airport (O22), Columbia, California.

Radar track data for the accident flight indicated that the airplane departed CN99 about 1348 and flew directly toward O22, located about 46 nautical miles (nm) northeast. The airplane climbed and maintained an altitude of 2,600 ft mean sea level (msl) until it was about 4 nm from O22, which was located at an elevation about 2,120 ft msl. The data indicated that, at that point, the airplane began a climb, then turned northwest toward Calaveras County Airport/Maury Rasmussen Field (CPU), San Andreas, California, about 13 nm northwest of O22. The airplane climbed to 4,000 ft msl before entering a descent. The airplane continued in a right turn and data was lost at 1413:29 with the airplane on a northeast heading at an altitude of 3,649 ft msl about 1 nm north of the accident site. The pilot was not in contact with air traffic control during the accident flight.

An Alert Notice (ALNOT) was issued; the airplane was subsequently located by the Calaveras County Sheriff's Department on June 13, 2017.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age:75, Male 
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/05/2017
Occupational Pilot:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  5316 hours (Total, all aircraft), 0 hours (Total, this make and model) 

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single- and multiengine land and instrument airplane. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate was issued on April 5, 2017, with the limitation that he must wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision. On the application for that medical certificate, the pilot reported 5,136 total hours of flight experience with 70 hours in the previous six months.

The pilot's personal logbook was not available for review, as such the pilot's instrument currency was not determined.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: BEECH
Registration: N3717Q
Model/Series: 95 C55 UNDESIGNATED
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1967
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: TE-298
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats:
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines:  Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Continental Motors
ELT:
Engine Model/Series: IO-520-SER
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power:
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

According to the airplane's logbooks, the last annual inspection was completed on June 29, 2016, at a total airframe time of 3,920.9 hours. The left and right oil filters were dated January 26, 2017, with 3,937.3 total airframe hours. On March 3, 2017, the left main fuel cell and left auxiliary fuel cell were replaced. At that time, the logbook entry indicated 3,937.3 total airframe hours.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KCPU, 1325 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1355 PDT
Direction from Accident Site: 231°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 800 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 2400 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 3 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / Unknown
Wind Direction: 240°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / Unknown
Altimeter Setting: 29.99 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 18°C / 14°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: PATTERSON, CA (CN99)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: COLUMBIA, CA (O22)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 2227 PDT
Type of Airspace:

The pilot received two weather briefings on the day of the accident. The first one was at 0457 and was an abbreviated briefing in which the pilot requested the current weather and Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF), and winds aloft at 6,000 ft for Stockton Metropolitan Airport (SCK), Stockton, California; SCK was approximately 50 miles southwest of the accident site.

During the second weather briefing, at 1304, the pilot was provided with AIRMET advisories Tango and Sierra, as well as the current O22 METAR, winds aloft at 6,000 ft, and was advised that visual flight rules (VFR) flight was not recommended.

AIRMET advisories Tango and Sierra were issued at 1345 and valid at the time of the accident. AIRMETs Tango and Sierra forecast moderate turbulence below 18,000 ft and mountain obscuration conditions due to clouds and mist. Similar conditions existed for the accident site and along the intended route of flight.

Weather observations from area airports around the time of the accident indicated marginal visual flight rules (MVFR) to VFR conditions due to cloud ceilings, which varied between 1,000 ft and 3,300 ft above ground level (agl) (2,500 ft and 4,200 ft msl in the mountainous terrain along the flight path).

CPU, the closest official weather observation point, located 12 miles southwest of the accident site. The 1355 observation included wind from 060° at 6 knots, 10 miles visibility, scattered clouds at 900 ft agl, broken ceiling at 1,600 ft agl, overcast skies at 3,300 ft. agl, temperature 18°C, dew point 15°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.95 inches of mercury. The 1415 observation included wind from 020° at 3 knots, 10 miles visibility, scattered clouds at 900 ft agl, broken ceiling at 1,600 ft agl, overcast skies at 2,700 ft agl, temperature 18°C, and dew point 15°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.95 inches of mercury. The 1435 weather observation included wind from 330° at 3 knots, 10 miles visibility, scattered clouds at 1,600 ft, broken clouds at 2,900 ft, and overcast clouds at 6,500 ft, temperature 20°C, dew point 15°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.94 inches of mercury.

O22, the next closest official weather observation point, located 15 miles south of the accident site. The 1355 observation included wind from 240° at 3 knots, scattered clouds at 800 ft agl, a broken ceiling at 2,400 ft agl, overcast skies at 3,300 ft agl, temperature 18°C, dew point 14°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.99 inches of mercury. The 1435 observation included calm wind, scattered clouds at 1,300 ft agl, an overcast ceiling at 2,200 ft agl, temperature 18°C, dew point 14°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.98 inches of mercury.

The Area Forecast issued at 1245 and valid at the accident time forecast a broken ceiling at 3,500 ft to 5,000 ft msl with broken skies at 8,000 to 10,000 ft msl, and cloud tops at 18,000 ft. Isolated light rain showers were also forecast. 

Airport Information

Airport: COLUMBIA (O22)
Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 2120 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Unknown
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 38.276389, -120.444722 (est) 

The airplane came to rest inverted on a southerly heading on a 65° slope at an elevation of 2,950 ft msl about 15 miles north of O22. The wreckage was in a forested and hilly area with fragmented pieces throughout the 500 ft debris path, which culminated at the top of an adjacent hill. The fuselage (instrument panel, seats, and cabin area), right engine, and portions of the right wing were identified near the top of a hill; the debris field extended downhill to the left wing and left engine. Several treetops between the two hills exhibited signatures consistent with impact. Vegetation in the immediate vicinity of the empennage and both wings was brown and discolored consistent with fuel blight.

Responding law enforcement reported a strong smell of fuel at the accident site.

The right wing had fragmented into multiple pieces; however, the right aileron and flap were present. The aileron control cable exhibited signatures consistent with overload. The right propeller assembly separated from the engine at the propeller flange, which was embedded in the side of the hill. The propeller assembly included all three propeller blades; the blades exhibited S-bending and torsional twisting. Both magnetos separated from the engine due to impact damage. The P-leads also sustained impact damage. The outboard 3 ft of the right wing was located about 10 ft east of the left wing and engine.

The left propeller assembly separated from the engine and was embedded in the ground downhill of the fuselage and uphill from the left engine. The propeller assembly included all three propeller blades, which exhibited S-bending and torsional twisting.

The empennage, which included portions of the horizontal and vertical stabilizers, rudder, and elevators was located downhill from the fuselage. The flight control cables, pulleys, and control tubes were continuous to the forward empennage. Separation signatures were consistent with overload.

The left engine and fragments of the left wing were located at the bottom of a hill adjacent to a dry creek bed. The left aileron and left flap were identified with leading edge skin damage that displayed accordion crushing from leading to trailing edge. The left main landing gear was found under the left flap assembly. The left engine came to rest inverted and exhibited impact damage with dirt and vegetation embedded in the engine. The exhaust tubing was separated and crushed. The outboard 3 ft of the left wing was located at the top of the adjacent hill.

The flap actuator measurement was consistent with a flaps-retracted position. The landing gear was consistent with a gear-retracted position.

Examination of the airframe revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

Right Engine

A visual examination of the right engine revealed no obvious holes in the case. Both magnetos separated from the engine. The right magneto sustained impact damage and a functional check was not possible; the magneto was disassembled with no anomalies identified with the internal components. The left magneto remained intact and sparked at all leads when manually rotated.

The ignition harness sustained damage to all the leads. The spark plugs sustained impact damage and the bottom spark plugs were removed. The Nos. 4- and 6-cylinders top spark plug center electrodes were missing. According to the Champion Check-a-Plug Chart, the spark plugs exhibited a normal wear pattern. There were no signs of lead or carbon fouling of the electrodes.

Borescope examination of the cylinders revealed no stuck intake or exhaust valves, and operating signatures appeared normal. There was organic matter (dirt, tree fragments, and rocks) in the cylinders. The vacuum pump vanes remained intact and coated with residual oil. The drive shaft was manually manipulated and rotated without binding.

Left Engine

A visual examination of the left engine revealed no obvious holes in the case. Both magnetos separated from the engine; the right magneto was heavily impact damaged and the left magneto remained intact. The ignition harness sustained damage to all the leads. The spark plugs were removed, and normal operating signatures were observed. Borescope examination of the cylinders revealed no stuck intake or exhaust valves and operating signatures appeared normal. The vacuum pump vanes were intact and coated with residual oil. The drive coupling had separated; however, it was reinserted, manually manipulated and rotated without binding.

Medical And Pathological Information

The Forensic Consultants Medical Group, Inc., Stockton, California, performed the autopsy of the pilot. The cause of death was reported as multiple blunt force injuries; the autopsy was limited due to the extent of injury.

Toxicology testing performed at the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory identified 93 mg/hg ethanol (equivalent to 0.093 gm/dl), isopropanol, N-Butanol, and citalopram in muscle tissue.

The detected ethanol could have been from ingestion of alcohol or a byproduct of microbial activity after death. The pilot reported on his most recent application for a medical certificate that he had high blood pressure that was controlled without medications and reported no other medications. Citalopram, marketed as Celexa, is a prescription antidepressant not known to directly cause sleepiness or other impairing symptoms. No further records from the pilot's treating physician were obtained.

Additional Information

Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) Accidents

The FAA defines a Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) accident as one that "occurs when an airworthy aircraft is flown, under the control of a qualified pilot, into terrain … with inadequate awareness on the part of the pilot of the impending collision." In Aril 2003, the FAA published Advisory Circular (AC) 61-134, entitled "GENERAL AVIATION CONTROLLED FLIGHT INTO TERRAIN AWARENESS." The AC highlights the inherent risk that CFIT poses for general aviation (GA) pilots.

The AC defined "situational awareness" as the pilot's knowledge "of what is happening around the aircraft at all times in both the vertical and horizontal planes. This includes the ability to project the near-term status and position of the aircraft in relation to other aircraft, terrain, and other potential hazards."

The AC stated that "in visual meteorological conditions, the pilot in command (PIC) is responsible for terrain and obstacle clearance (See and Avoid)…" and identified several CFIT risks, including:

- Loss of situational awareness

- Breakdown in good aeronautical decision making

- Failure to comply with appropriate regulations

- Failure to comply with minimum safe altitudes

The AC also cited extracts from the FAA Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), that listed frequent pilot-involved causal factors for general aviation accidents and stated that many of those same factors applied to CFIT accidents. These factors included:

- Inadequate preflight preparation and/or planning

- Failure to see and avoid objects or obstructions

- Improper in-flight decisions or planning

The AC further stated that "VFR flight operations may be conducted at mountainous terrain with the application of sound judgment and common sense. Proper pre-flight planning, giving ample consideration to…knowledge of the terrain and pilot experience in mountain flying are prerequisites for safety of flight. Continuous visual contact with the surface and obstructions is a major concern and flight operations under an overcast or in the vicinity of clouds should be approached with extreme caution."

NTSB Safety Alert regarding CFIT Accidents

In January 2008, the NTSB issued a Safety Alert (SA) entitled "Controlled Flight Into Terrain in Visual Conditions." The SA stated that recent investigations identified several accidents that involved CFIT by pilots operating under visual flight conditions, that the pilots appeared unaware that the aircraft were in danger, and that increased altitude awareness and better preflight planning likely would have prevented the accidents.

The SA suggested that pilots could avoid becoming involved in a similar accident by accomplishing several actions, including:

- Proper preflight planning

- Obtaining flight route terrain familiarization via sectional charts or other topographic references

- Maintaining awareness of visual limitations for operations in remote areas

- Following IFR [instrument flight rules] practices until well above surrounding terrain

- Advising ATC about potential inability to avoid terrain


- Employing a GPS-based terrain awareness unit



NTSB Identification: WPR17FA125 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 09, 2017 in Mountain Ranch, CA
Aircraft: BEECH 95 C55, registration: N3717Q
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 June 9, 2017, at an unknown time, a Beech 95-C55, N3717Q, impact heavily forested terrain near Mountain Ranch, California. The pilot/owner operated the airplane as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area of the accident site and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed Del Mar Farms Airport (CN99), Patterson, California, at 1355 and was destined for Columbia Airport (O22), Columbia, California. 

A family concerned ALNOT (Alert Notification) was issued when the pilot did not arrive at Columbia Airport. They estimated the flight to be about 20 minutes.

The airplane was located by the Calaveras County Sheriff's Department on June 13, 2017. 

The airplane came to rest inverted on a 65-degree slope, and was fragmented. The debris field extended from the top of the hill down toward a dry creek bed, with vegetation in the immediate vicinity of the empennage a brown discoloration consistent with fuel blight. The right engine remained with the main wreckage at the top of the hill. The left engine and fragments of the left wing were downhill, and the outboard two-feet of the left-wing tip were about 10 feet east of the wing and engine.

The airplane was recovered for further examination.


LEROY DEL DON JR.
February 5, 1942 - June13, 2017


LeRoy Del Don Jr. was born February 5th 1942 in Modesto, CA to his parents, LeRoy Sr. and Elizabeth Mae Del Don. LeRoy married Sandy Del Don in 1960. They had three children, Lee, Lesa and Dalton.

LeRoy followed in his father's footsteps and was a well respected farmer on the Westside for the past 60 years. He made fond memories with great friends while enjoying his life-long passion of flying.

LeRoy was always known for bringing a smile to one's face and living life to its fullest. Nothing made LeRoy more proud than his family.

LeRoy is survived by his loving wife Sandy, his oldest son Lee (Debra), daughter Lesa Del Don, youngest son Dalton (Carli), sister Carol Goldberg (Neil) of Kirkland, WA, 7 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, LeRoy Sr. and Elizabeth Mae Del Don.

A celebration of life will be held between 4-8pm on June 24th at Sky Trek Aviation, located at the Modesto Airport.


LeRoy Del Don
 
 



A pilot who was reported missing after his plane took off from an airstrip in Patterson was found dead Tuesday, the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office.
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Leroy Del Don, 75, was found in the wreckage of a twin-engine Beechcraft plane in a mountainous location in the Calaveras County town of Mountain Ranch.

While Del Don and the plane that was found have not been positively identified, “circumstantial evidence indicated that the wreckage was that of the missing Beechcraft,” the sheriff's office said.

Del Don was reported missing Friday evening by a family member after he didn’t arrived at Columbia Airport with his personal aircraft, according to the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office.

Del Don planned to fly directly to Columbia Airport, which he has done numerous times, and get into a vehicle waiting for him at the hangar and drive to Pinecrest.

When Del Don didn't arrive in Pinecrest as planned, his wife became worried and had a friend check the hanger, where they found the vehicle, but Del Don's plane wasn't there, the sheriff's office said.

A search team reported seeing plane debris around noon Tuesday. The aircraft was found about a mile from the crash site, the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office said. The plane appeared to have crashed into one or more trees before coming stopping on a steep hillside.

The crash was discovered about a mile south of Del Don’s last known radar point.

Del Don had extensive flying experience and had been flying for more than 40 years. He was a flight instructor and had no known medical issues.

The cause of the crash is unknown.

Investigators are still at the scene and will work with the National Transportation Safety Board when officials arrive Wednesday.

No other details were released.

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



SAN ANDREAS — Wreckage of a small plane was found, as was a body, located one mile south of the last known radar point of missing pilot LeRoy Del Don, the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office said.

It was announced late Tuesday that a search team had reported finding possible aircraft debris about noon earlier in the day.

The area of the site was described by authorities as being densely wooded and steep, and the aircraft, they said, appeared to have collided with one or more trees before coming to rest on a steep hillside. The plane was last spotted on radar west of remote Mountain Ranch in Calaveras County.

Due to the condition of the wreckage, deputies could not positively identify either the aircraft or the occupant as being the missing Beechcraft and Del Don.

Circumstantial evidence, however, indicated that the wreckage was that of the missing aircraft, authorities said.

Del Don, 75, departed alone in a 1967 Beechcraft Baron — a twin-engine propeller-driven plane — about 2 p.m. Friday from a private airstrip near Westley in Stanislaus County.

John Suiter experiences free falling in Superfly, a portable wind tunnel at the San Joaquin Fair. Recordnet.com

Del Don is described as being an experienced pilot and flight instructor with no known medical issues who has flown to Columbia numerous times. He was expected to drive a vehicle waiting for him in an airport hanger to Pinecrest, according to The Modesto Bee.

When he did not arrive in Pinecrest as planned Friday evening, his wife became worried and had a friend check the Columbia hangar. The plane was not there, but the vehicle was, The Bee reported.

An investigation is underway.

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





Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office:   Update June 02, 2017

The search for Leroy Del Don is ongoing. Search and Rescue teams from the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office, Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office, and Amador County Sheriff's Office, as well as aircraft from the California Highway Patrol and Civil Air Patrol have been extensively searching the area and will continue throughout the day. 

The search is taking place in Calaveras County.

If you have information or questions call Calaveras Sheriff's Office at 209-754-6500.

Original Post-   Late Friday evening, 75 year old Leroy Del Don was reported missing by a family member after he departed from an airstrip near Patterson in his personal airplane and failed to arrive at Columbia Airport.

The Sheriff's Office was told Leroy has extensive flying experience and has been flying for over 40 years. He is a flight instructor and has no known medical issues.

Leroy was going to fly directly to Columbia Airport, which he has done numerous times, and then drive to Pinecrest in a vehicle that was waiting for him in the hangar.

His plane is a twin engine 1967 Beechcraft Baron 55, beige in color with an orange stripe on the tail. When Leroy did not arrive in Pinecrest as planned, his wife became worried and had a friend check the hangar at Columbia Airport for the plane. The plane was not there, however the vehicle was.

Leroy Del Don's airplane was last tracked by Air Force Rescue to a mountainous location in Calaveras County. The Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue Team are assisting the Calaveras Sheriff's Office with their search efforts.

If anyone has seen Leroy or the plane described, please call the Calaveras Sheriff's Office at 209-754-6500.

Leroy is 5'11" tall, 187 pounds with gray hair and blue eyes. 


PATTERSON, Calif. (KCRA) — A pilot was reported missing after his plane took off from an airstrip in Patterson and didn't arrive at an Tuolumne County airport, sheriff's officials said. 

Leroy Del Don, 75, was reported missing Friday evening by a family member after he departed from an airstrip near Patterson in his personal plan and never arrived at Columbia Airport, according to the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office.

Del Don's airplane, a beige twin-engine 1967 Beechcraft Baron 55, was last tracked by Air Force rescue to a mountainous location in the Calaveras County town of Mountain Ranch before disappearing from radar, investigators said.

Del Don planned to fly directly to Columbia Airport, which he has done numerous times, and get into a vehicle waiting for him at the hangar and drive to Pinecrest.

When Del Don didn't arrive in Pinecrest as planned, his wife became worried and had a friend check the hanger, where they found the vehicle, but Del Don's plane wasn't there, the sheriff's office said.

Del Don has extensive flying experience and has been flying for more than 40 years. He is a flight instructor and has no known medical issues.

The sheriff's offices from Tuolumne and Calaveras counties are working together in the search for Del Don.

He is described as 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing 187 pounds with gray hair and blue eyes, deputies said.

Anyone with information about Del Don's plane is asked to call the Calaveras County Sheriff's Office at 209-754-6500.


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

The search continues for a man who flew out from a private airstrip near Grayson on Friday afternoon but did not arrive at his destination, the Columbia Airport. 

Search and rescue teams from the sheriff’s offices in Calaveras, Tuolumne and Amador counties, as well as aircraft from the California Highway Patrol and Civil Air Patrol, are searching a rural area of Calaveras County, that Sheriff’s Office reported Monday morning.

Late Friday evening, 75-year-old Leroy Del Don, a farmer on Stanislaus County’s West Side, was reported missing. He was going to fly directly to Columbia Airport, which he has done numerous times, and then drive to Pinecrest in a vehicle that was waiting for him in the Columbia hanger, according to the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office.

When he did not arrive in Pinecrest as planned, his wife became worried and had a friend check the Columbia hanger. The plane was not there, but the vehicle was.

The plane is a twin-engine, propeller-driven 1967 Beechcraft Baron. It is beige with brown and orange striping and the tail number N3717Q.

The aircraft appears to have traveled over Columbia Airport and through Calaveras County before disappearing from radar west of Mountain Ranch, according to the Calaveras Sheriff’s Office.

The Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office was told that Del Don has extensive flying experience and has been flying for over 40 years. He is a flight instructor and has no known medical issues.

Anyone who heard or saw the plane or a similar plane during Friday afternoon is urged to contact the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office at 209-754-6500 and speak with dispatch.

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

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