Friday, September 08, 2017

Cessna 172 Skyhawk, N737QQ, Sunwest Aviation Inc: Fatal accident occurred September 07, 2017 in Bolinas, Marin County, California

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Oakland, California
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Sunwest Aviation Inc:

NTSB Identification: WPR17FA196
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, September 07, 2017 in Bolinas, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N737QQ
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 September 7, 2017, about 1400 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 172N, N737QQ impacted trees near the Point Reyes Bird Observatory, Bolinas, California. The airplane was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal cross-country flight. The private pilot, the sole occupant, rented the airplane from SunWest Aviation, Santa Ynez, California. The pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that departed from Santa Ynez Airport (IZA) about 1130, and a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan had been filed for a portion of the flight. The flight was destined for the Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport (STS), Santa Rosa, California.

The flight was the subject of an Alert Notification (ALNOT), that was issued by Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) on September 7, 2017, when radar contact with the airplane was lost. 

The airplane was located in a densely forested area by officers of the Point Reyes National Park Service on September 8, 2017. The entire airplane came to rest at the accident site on a northerly heading. The first identified point of impact (FIPC) was the left wing that impacted near the top of a 60-foot Douglas fir tree. The main wreckage was about 50 feet forward of the FIPC at the base of a tree, and came to rest inverted. To the north of the main wreckage was the roof of the cockpit followed by the engine. While the fuselage was north of the FIPC, it came to rest on a southerly heading.

At the time of the accident a fog layer was present over the Point Reyes National Park, that encompassed the accident site.

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

John R. Wilson, an oil and gas industry consultant, died in a crash Thursday at Point Reyes National Seashore. In this family photo he poses with his wife, Christine.

A pilot found dead among the wreckage of a small plane that crashed on a hillside in Point Reyes National Seashore has been identified as John Rowland Wilson, 58, of Houston, Texas, the Marin County Coroner’s Office reported Saturday.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration were expected to take over the investigation into the incident discovered Friday afternoon on the southern edge of Inverness Ridge by emergency responders.

The pilot, the only person onboard the Cessna 172, was reportedly overdue during a flight from Santa Ynez to the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport on Thursday, according to the FAA.

What caused the crash remained unknown on Saturday, but fog could have been a contributing factor, said John Dell’Osso, spokesman for the Point Reyes National Seashore. He said fog was thick in the area on Thursday, when the plane was believed to have crashed.

The plane was located in a heavily-wooded area during a multi-agency search that launched after an emergency signal was transmitted by the plane Thursday afternoon.

The U.S. Coast Guard was alerted with the transmission, signaling an emergency involving a plane or boat two miles offshore, near Bolinas. No planes or boats were found in distress. Another signal, indicating an incident just north of Bolinas, was received by officials two hours later.

Multiple agencies including the National Park Service and Marin County Search and Rescue scoured the area. The plane was found a few miles north of Bolinas.

Original article can be found here ➤

The pilot who died in a crash at Point Reyes National Seashore last week had recently left his Houston home after Hurricane Harvey flooded his basement, his wife said Saturday.

John R. Wilson, an oil and gas industry consultant, was found dead when search crews discovered his wrecked Cessna 172 amid thick brush at the Marin County park. He was 58.

He had traveled all over the world for his career, spending time between Austria, Santa Barbara and Houston, where he worked as a consultant for his firm Scorpio Resources, said Christine Wilson, his wife of 14 years.

“For me it’s not reality yet,” she said Saturday. “He just received his pilot license a few weeks ago. He was a young pilot, but he loved it and he was careful.”

She said her husband could not stay in their Houston home for the past three weeks after the storm took out electricity and running water when their basement flooded. He left Houston to stay at their property in Santa Barbara, while his wife was staying at their home in Austria.

Christine Wilson said her husband had carefully mapped out his flight from Santa Ynez in Santa Barbara County to Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa for an upcoming business trip in Napa.

“He was really, really excited about flying. He was so excited. He had been planning this for a week,” she said.

John Wilson had taken flying lessons for several years, and has flown several times successfully, including a trip from Houston to New Orleans, she said. 

A multiagency search party found his plane Friday afternoon after the aircraft’s emergency transmitter went off, giving them the location. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident.

Wilson, originally from London, is survived by his wife, three children, three stepchildren and his brother.

“His love for flying and hiking and his love for everyone, his character and integrity will be forever remembered by his family and friends,” Christine Wilson wrote in an email to The Chronicle. 

Original article can be found here ➤

POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE (CBS SF) — Search teams have discovered the wreckage of a small plane Friday that crashed in the rugged backwoods area of the Point Reyes National Seashore, authorities said.

Park officials said a body was found in the wreckage and the coroner would determine the identification.

FAA Public Affairs manager Ian Gregor said the plane — with only the pilot onboard — was reported overdue while flying from Santa Ynez to Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa Thursday afternoon.

A massive search effort was launched including teams from the National Park Service, the Marin County Sheriff’s Department and other local agencies after ‘a ping’ from an electronic emergency signal was transmitted to the Coast Guard around 1 p.m. Thursday.

John Dell’Osso, Chief of Interpretation and Resource Education at Point Reyes National Seashore, said the Coast Guard searched two miles offshore but nothing was found.

The teams continued their effort until early Friday in the rugged, wooded area in west Marin and then took a break until daybreak.

A heavy fog layer prevented the use of aircraft Friday morning so the effort consisted of about 30 searchers on foot. Two other pings were detected and searchers were focusing a specific area of the massive park.

Original article can be found here ➤

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