Thursday, July 13, 2017

Cirrus SR22T, N821SG, DDLV LLC: Fatal accident occurred July 13, 2017 near Sonoma Skypark (0Q9), Sonoma County, California

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

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

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:


NTSB Identification: WPR17FA150
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 13, 2017 in SCHELLVILLE, CA
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR22T, registration: N821SG
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 Serious, 1 Minor.

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 July 13, 2017, about 1245 Pacific daylight time, a Cirrus Design Corp SR22T, N821SG, sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain about 1/2 mile west of the Sonoma Skypark Airport (0Q9) Sonoma, California. The private pilot was fatally injured, two passengers were seriously injured, and one passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to DDLV LLC, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The personal flight departed from Sonoma Skypark about 1244 with a planned destination of Reid-Hillview Airport of Santa Clara County, San Jose, California.

Several witnesses located near 0Q9 reported that they heard the engine "sputter" a few times as it passed their position. Subsequently, they heard a louder sound and shortly afterwards observed the airplane's parachute system deploying at a low altitude. Most of the witnesses saw the airplane descend just prior to losing sight of it at the tree tops, and shortly before it impacted the ground. 

Examination of the accident site by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), investigator-in-charge (IIC), revealed that all major structural components and primary flight controls of the airplane, were located at the accident site. 

The airplane was recovered to a secure facility for further examination.

William Sachs Goldman 
February 10, 1979 to July 13, 2017

William Sachs Goldman passed away on Thursday in Sonoma County, California. A proud father, dedicated husband, accomplished professor and historian, and passionate philanthropist, he was 38 years old.

The son of Susan Sachs Goldman and the late Richard Walter Goldman, Bill was born and raised in Washington D.C. where he attended the Sidwell Friends School. He earned a B.A. in History from Yale University where he was a member of the Yale Glee Club and a photographer for the Yale Daily News. He received his master's degree and doctorate in history at the University of California, Berkeley. 

Since 2012, he was an assistant professor of international studies at the University of San Francisco, where he specialized in early modern Spanish history. Bill loved sharing his knowledge not only with his students but also with family and friends - on trips, at dinner parties, and wherever he could find an audience. He had previously taught at Stanford University and was a former research fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles. 

He cared deeply about giving to his community and was active in a variety of philanthropic endeavors. In 2012, he and his siblings founded the Richard W. Goldman Family Foundation to help underserved children and communities gain access to education, health, and financial resources. He was treasurer of the International Board of Directors of the New Israel Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering civil rights and democracy in Israel. He served as president of the board of directors for the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, a family foundation that supports economic security, education, Jewish life, and the arts in the Bay Area. 

He also was a volunteer pilot with Angel Flight West, flying 13 missions since 2013 to transport critically ill adults and children to receive medical treatment. He was passionate about flying, political discourse, gourmet food, a good Manhattan, long bike rides, the Washington Redskins, and the San Francisco Giants, but his greatest love was his family.

He is survived by his wife, Serra Falk Goldman, and their two children, George Richard Goldman and Marie Aliena Goldman. He is also survived by his mother, Susan Sachs Goldman; his brother Daniel Sachs Goldman and sister-in-law Corinne Goldman; his sister Alice Goldman Reiter and brother-in-law Benjamin Reiter; his brother-in-law Harry Falk IV and wife Rochelle Falk; and his brother-in-law Taylor Falk and his wife, Rachel Falk. Bill was a beloved uncle to 10 nieces and nephews. He was a staunchly loyal and devoted friend. He was a dedicated leader, teacher, mentor, and advocate for the disadvantaged. The past few days have been a moving reminder of the many people whose lives Bill touched with his kindness, humor, and intellect. 

A memorial service will be held on Monday, July 17, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco. The family encourages memorial donations be made to his children's school, La Scuola International School, or the New Israel Fund.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on July 17, 2017

SONOMA, Calif. (KGO) -- When investigators from the FAA and NTSB arrived at the crash site Friday morning they found a crumpled Cirrus SR22T plane and descriptions from witnesses of an engine failure shortly after take off from the Sonoma Skypark. 

"When the engine stopped, it became a glider and looked really good," said airport manager Ron Price. "I was hoping they could land in that field."

Instead, for reasons unknown, pilot Bill Goldman pulled the handle on the parachute designed to save planes in distress. It worked on June 30 near Davis, when a pilot and passenger walked away after an engine failure.

But it did not work in Sonoma for a plane at maybe 300 feet, according to witnesses.

"The parachute needs about a thousand feet to deploy, and that is only if you're lucky," said San Rafael aviation attorney Lou Franecke. He made a case against Cirrus after a similar crash.

He cannot discuss the settlement terms but insists the plane has a flaw. "The parachute is used to deploy when you have a problem," Franecke told ABC7 News. "And the problem with the Cirrus is its aerodynamic characteristics are awful in stall."

The Cirrus Aircraft Company makes a selling point of the plane's built-in parachute.

Today it told us: The Cirrus Aircraft whole-plane parachute system has been deployed 72 times over the last 18 years, resulting in 148 saved lives who were returned to their families.

But as Coast Guard video shows, deployment does not happen instantly. It takes a few seconds for the straps to deploy, the chute to fill, and for the plane to level.

Friday, witnesses say the plane landed almost nose first. Would the chute have made a difference at low altitude? The company says it can work at 400 feet.

"If you are straight and level," said Franecke. "But if you are straight and level, why would you deploy the parachute?

The answers may lie somewhere in the wreckage.

Watch Video:

William S. Goldman, left, and son, George.

The grandson of San Francisco’s renowned philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman died Thursday and his two children and a woman believed to be their nanny were seriously injured when their single-engine Cirrus SR22 plane crashed south of Sonoma soon after takeoff.

William “Bill” S. Goldman, 38, a University of San Francisco assistant professor of international studies, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The woman, Valeria Anselmi of Milan, Italy, and his two grade school age children, George and Marie, were hospitalized.

His wife, Serra Falk Goldman, a San Francisco attorney, could not be reached Thursday. A woman answering the phone at Falk, Cornell & Associates law firm declined comment.

The plane took off from Sonoma Skypark airport around 12:45 p.m., according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, and went down about two minutes later, crashing in a nearby field.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

Assistant Schell-Vista Fire Chief Mike Mulas said a half-dozen civilians arrived at the crash site before emergency personnel and pulled the children from the wreckage.

“All three of the injuries were severe to critical,” Mulas said, adding that emergency medics tried to shield the survivors from Goldman, moving them away from the wreckage.

“It was just a tragic situation, tragic thing,” he said.

The children were taken to Children’s Hospital Oakland by helicopter, one by REACH at 1:45 p.m. and the other by Sheriff’s Office helicopter Henry 1 at 2:07 p.m., according to a Redcom dispatcher. Anselmi was taken by ambulance to Queen of the Valley Hospital at 1:20 p.m.

Neither hospital was able to provide status updates on their conditions.

The Goldman name is attached to several prestigious philanthropic efforts. Best known is the Goldman Environmental Prize, begun by Bill Goldman’s grandparents, Richard N. and Rhoda H. Goldman. It honors grassroots environmental individuals from around the world for significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment. Each winner receives an award of $150,000 — the largest award in the world for grassroots environmentalists — and is often referred to as the “Green Nobel.”

The eponymous foundation gave $700 million to more than 2,500 grantees in its 60 years of existence. The fund closed in 2012.

Numerous other foundations related to the family exist, including the Richard W. Goldman Family Foundation that Bill Goldman and his brother and sister founded in 2012 in memory of their father.

Bill Goldman also served on the board of directors for the New Israel Fund, a nonprofit based in New York City, that supports civil rights and democracy in Israel, and the Walter and Elise Haas Fund in San Francisco that’s dedicated to economic security, education, Jewish life and the arts in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bill Goldman was also a descendant of Levi Strauss, who in 1873 patented denim blue jeans.

He was born and raised in Washington, D.C, the son of Richard Goldman and Susan Sachs Goldman. He attended the Sidwell Friends School, received his undergraduate degree at Yale University, and both his master’s and doctoral degrees from UC Berkeley. He had taught at USF since 2012.

University President Paul Fitzgerald released a statement late Thursday about Goldman, saying the USF community was “devastated,” calling him “an accomplished scholar, a beloved and generous teacher, and a valued member of our community.”

Goldman enjoyed choral music, photography and especially flying for Angel Flight West, a charitable organization providing transportation for critically ill patients and their families.

Goldman’s plane is registered out of Palo Alto but the family lives in San Francisco. The aircraft wasn’t based at the Sonoma Skypark, according to Robin Tatman, president of the airport’s Experimental Aircraft Association chapter.

Cirrus planes are equipped with a unique parachute system that can be deployed in case of emergencies. While there was no official word on whether Goldman deployed his plane’s parachute, a witness thought he did.

Gina Isi, of Sonoma, was on her lunch break outside cork company Ganau America on Carneros Oak Lane in Sonoma watching the runway when she heard the plane take off.

“It was just at the beginning of its ascent, when I heard it — like it was going to stall,” she said. “It sounded like it choked a little bit, so I was like, ‘Holy cow!’ and then it seemed like it was going to recover, like I heard more revving, and then it just died.”

She watched as the plane disappeared behind a grove of trees, and then heard a pop — what she believes was the sound of the parachute.

“He must have deployed it under 200 feet,” she said. Isi said she did not hear the plane crash.

Editor's note: An early version of this story originally misidentified the woman injured in the crash as Goldman's wife based on information provided by public safety officials.


Jim B said...

A sad story.

One compliment I can offer about Cirrus is the exceptional quality of the seat designs, front and back.

As badly as that airframe is mangled, the wife and children survived.

Anonymous said...

No fire? Fuel exhaustion?

Anonymous said...

4 souls on board. Heavy plane departing on a hot day. Perhaps high density altitude played a role?

Anonymous said...

The 22t i have flown holds about 400# with full fuel. Not saying it was full, but people get tempted when it was topped off the day before etc.

Anonymous said...

Simply due to inexperience or panic, too low to deploy CAPS ... should have just landed in that giant flat field, that I'm assuming was there the last time he flew out of there. Got to plan this out before you even turn a prop.

Anonymous said...

High density altitude and/or being overweight don't cause engine failures. 300 agl is a bad time to lose the engine...with or without a chute.

Anonymous said...

Being at or near gross on a hot day doesn't cause the engine to quit. But if the engine quits at 300' and you're heavy on a hot day - the situation has been made worse. Links in the accident chain...

Kevin Tinto said...

The fact that three survived is a testament to the survivability of someone in a Cirrus crash. However, it's likely that everyone would have walked away if he had proper training and flew the plane straight and landed in the field. It's clear from the number of Cirrus crashes that low-time pilots over-depend upon the CAP system to handi-cap hours flying high performance aircraft.

The pilot should have an internal call-out when the plane is both safe to deploy the CAPS, or too low, and a non-deploy landing is your safe option. It appears that 700 feet might be your lowest safe deployment in average conditions.

Regardless how close to a self-driving Tesla they make aircraft, it is still an aircraft that needs to have a pilot at the controls, not a 'driver.' A pilot is training him/her self constantly in emergency procedures and becomes more calm in an emergency environment, not panicked. Having said that; flying your kids in single-engine aircraft is something I'd never do... You're one broken wire in an engine management system, and now they're in a lethal situation.

Anonymous said...

I always have an internal call out before takeoff regarding CAPS deployment. Above 800ft we pull the chute, below 800ft we look to land straight ahead. I also make sure whoever is sitting right seat knows the drill and how to pull the handle should something happen to me. Having the chute leads people to be slightly over confident as well as over conservative. I've seen instances where people should have just pulled the chute instead of trying to save the aircraft. Pull the handle, total the airplane, and deal with the insurance company. It's a lot better than dying.

Anonymous said...

"I also make sure whoever is sitting right seat knows the drill and how to pull the handle should something happen to me."

Just curious.... What instructions do you or would you give to a child who is seated in the right seat of a Cirrus aircraft? Thanks!