Saturday, December 9, 2017

San Francisco rent is so expensive that a law firm bought a $3 million plane to fly its people in from Texas instead of having them live there

  • San Francisco's median rent is $4,450, nearly three times that in Houston.
  • Instead of hiring expensive talent in the Bay Area, one Houston-based law firm flies its lawyers in on a private jet once a month to meet with clients.
  • The firm uses the jet — which costs $2,500 an hour to operate — as a tool for recruiting top talent.

Rent and home prices in the Bay Area are so high that one Houston-based law firm is using an alternative to hiring expensive local talent: a private jet.

Patterson and Sheridan, an intellectual-property law firm headquartered in Houston, bought a nine-seat plane to shuttle its patent lawyers to clients in the Bay Area once a month.

Though the jet cost $3 million, the Houston Chronicle's L.M. Sixel reports, it's cheaper than hiring local lawyers, and even less expensive than relocating the Texas lawyers with business in Silicon Valley to the area.

"The young people that we want to hire out there have high expectations that are hard to meet," Bruce Patterson, a partner at the firm, told The New York Times. "Rent is so high they can't even afford a car."

According to Zillow, the median rent in San Francisco is $4,450, while the median home price is just under $1.2 million. Rent in San Jose, a nearby city popular among Silicon Valley workers, while lower, is still more than double the median rent in Houston.

Each flight for the firm costs about $1,900 a passenger — adding up to $2,500 an hour in operating costs — but since the lawyers are working in-flight, the three-to-four-hour ride is billable, the Chronicle described Todd Patterson, a managing partner, as saying. Plus, private flights protect any confidential work and save the firm's lawyers about 36 collective hours they would spend arriving early, waiting in security, and checking bags on a commercial flight.

The firm says it's "still able to offer companies and inventors lower costs because most of the patent work is done in Houston, where commercial real estate is 43% cheaper, salaries 52% lower, and competition for technical talent far less fierce," according to Sixel, who rode on the jet last summer while reporting the story.

"We fly it full," Patterson said. "It's not a luxury item."

It's also "a selling point to recruit young lawyers" who want to work with top tech companies but can't afford Silicon Valley's cost of living, Sixel reported. The firm's frequent visits to California have also brought in new clients including Intuit, Western Digital, and Cavendish Kinetics.

Perhaps some companies looking for talent in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley's neighbor to the south, could benefit from this strategy.

A report from the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Business Council published earlier this year found that exorbitant housing costs in Los Angeles were inhibiting employers from attracting "high performers" or top talent to their companies.

About 60% of the employers surveyed said Los Angeles' high cost of living affects employee retention, with 75% naming housing costs as a specific concern. And nearly all said they viewed high housing costs as a barrier to hiring new mid- and upper-level employees. 

Read more here:

New Mexico congressional delegation calls for old helicopter transfer

ALBUQUERQUE — New Mexico’s congressional delegation is urging the Air Force to transfer some older combat search-and-rescue helicopters to the state National Guard when new models enter service with an active-duty unit at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque.

Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and Reps. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Steve Pearce and Ben Ray Luj├ín advocate shifting the HH-60G helicopters to the 150th Special Operations Wing, a Kirtland-based Guard unit that currently doesn’t have its own aircraft to operate.

The lawmakers also say the acquisition of new HH-60W helicopters by the active-duty 58th Special Operations Wing also operating other aircraft would pose challenges of having enough flight instructors hangar and classroom space.

The delegation made their pitch in a letter to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, a former New Mexico congresswoman.

Original article ➤

Lebanon, New Hampshire: Bird's-eye-view of the Upper Valley

Lebanon, N.H. (WCAX) More than two dozen lucky passengers got a free flight over the Upper Valley Saturday.

The Lebanon Municipal Airport, in partnership with Cape Air, offered the flights for the public as a way to promote ridership. That's because big bucks are on the line. The airport, which has daily flights to Boston and New York, receives a million dollars in federal funds if they have 10,000 enplanements for the year. They are closing in on that number. Those who boarded the free flight Saturday, taking in views of the Connecticut River and Dartmouth College, were all smiles when they got off the plane.

"Got to look down on all the buildings. It was really fun figuring out what was what. Beautiful views of Killington and Ascutney and the mountains around. They are blowing snow on Storrs Hill. It was pretty cool," said Mary Ellen Treadway of Piermont New Hampshire.

Airport officials say they are expecting to exceed 10,000 passengers this year. A good portion of the million dollars goes toward safety improvements at the airport. Officials say most of the subsidy is paid for by user fees rather than tax dollars. 

Story and video ➤

Why was this Saudia flight to New York returned to Jeddah?

Saudi Airlines has revealed the reasons why its Saudia flight SV21 to New York on Saturday morning was returned to Jeddah.

Local media outlets quoted a statement from the company as saying that “during the flight, the pilot suspected that there may have been friction with the plane’s tail, and since precautionary measures were required to ensure safety, the plane returned to King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah after the appropriate amount of fuel had been emptied allowing the landing of the plane.”

The body of the aircraft was not damaged however, but the sensor was replaced and the aircraft changed with the passengers continuing their flight to New York.

Original article ➤

Beech A36 Bonanza, N248SB, registered to Altitude Aviation Inc and operated by the pilot: Fatal accident occurred December 09, 2017 near Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport (KMYF), San Diego County, California

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

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Diego, California

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Altitude Aviation Inc:

Location: San Diego, CA
Accident Number: WPR18FA046
Date & Time: 12/09/2017, 1633 PST
Registration: N248SB
Aircraft: BEECH A36
Injuries: 2 Fatal, 2 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On December 9, 2017 about
1633 Pacific standard time, a Beech A36, N248SB, was destroyed when it impacted a residential house following an emergency landing near Montgomery - Gibbs Executive Airport (MYF), San Diego, California. The pilot and one passenger sustained serious injuries. Two other passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Altitude Aviation Inc. and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, and a visual flight rules plan was filed for the cross-country flight to Los Angeles, California. The flight originated from MYF about 1630.

The pilot reported that about 1.5 miles west of the airport, at 700 ft above ground level, the engine experienced a complete loss of power. He executed a steep 180° turn to the right and performed the emergency procedure for loss of engine power. Engine power was not regained and he executed a forced landing to a nearby field. During landing, the pilot applied brakes, but due to an insufficient stopping distance, the airplane impacted and traveled through a fence before colliding with the residence. A post-crash fire ensued.

A witness located about 0.15 miles from the accident site recorded a video that showed the airplane in a steep right bank. The landing gear was extended and visible. The airplane briefly disappeared from the line of sight and a second later, it touched down in the middle of a school yard. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: BEECH
Registration: N248SB
Model/Series: A36 UNDESIGNATED
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KMYF, 417 ft msl
Observation Time: 0053 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / -8°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots, 50°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.12 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Departure Point: SAN DIEGO, CA (MYF)
Destination: Los Angeles, CA 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 2 Fatal, 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal, 2 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 32.825000, -117.170556 (est)

A photo of Josh Reikes and his family shared on a site.

Send the Funds Flying for Josh!

First Officer Josh Reikes was involved in a small plane crash on December 9, 2017 in San Diego, California.  Josh survived the crash, but will have a long road to recovery.

Although Josh has only been with Sun Country since October 2017, he has made a positive impact on all those who have met him.

Let’s bring the Sun Country family together to help raise the much needed funds to help with Josh’s recovery. 

Per the family’s request, please do not post anything on social media regarding Josh and this incident. 

Thank you for your help and please keep Josh and his family in your prayers.

Help spread the word!

Mike Zareski, DVM, was identified by the medical examiner’s office as one of the men killed in the crash. 

Dawn and Robert Stelling

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Two people who died when a small plane crashed into a Clairemont home last week have been identified.

Michael Zareski, 46, and 50-year-old Robert Stelling, of Southampton, N.Y., were killed when the single-engine Beech B36 Bonanza aircraft they were flying in crashed into a home on Chandler Drive near Interstate 805 and Balboa Avenue Saturday, the San Diego Medical Examiner (ME) confirmed.

Two others, the plane's pilot and a third passenger, survived the crash. No one was inside the home at the time of the crash, but a family dog was killed.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, but the pilot reportedly tried to land the plane in the schoolyard of Lafayette Elementary School but was unable to fully stop, the ME's report stated.

The victims were trapped inside the wreckage as the plane erupted into flames upon impact. Both Zareski and Stelling died of thermal injuries and inhalation of products of combustion, according to the ME.

The crash occurred a little more than three miles away from Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport bordering SR-163.

Zareski was a Torrance-area veterinarian, according to Daily Breeze. The publication reported Zareski worked at Western Veterinary Group.

A post signed by Shanna Zareski on the clinic's Facebook page said Zareski was returning home from a veterinary conference when the plane went down:

"Our WVG staff and families know that Mike touched a tremendous number of people with his overwhelming compassion, generosity and kindness. His legacy will live on in our four beautiful children and in Western Veterinary Group. Mike poured his heart, soul, and sweat into making WVG a family practice, not only in the sense of including myself and our kids but also as a place where he cared for and considered each one of his patients and clients family as well."

Stelling was on the plane with his wife, Dawn, reported. Dawn was reportedly the third passenger who survived, according to the website.

Stelling, who is the owner of the Southampton Peconic Beach and Tennis Club, was also in town for the same veterinary conference as Zareski, the website said.

Story and video ➤

Joshua Reikes

The man piloting a small aircraft that suffered engine failure shortly after takeoff, crash-landing into a Clairemont home and killing two people, has been identified to NBC 7. 

Josh Reikes has been flying for most of his life, most recently for Sun Country Airlines, according to his LinkedIn page. 

Reikes was flying a six-seat single-engine 1995 Beechcraft Bonanza from Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in San Diego Saturday when something went wrong. 

Reikes attempted to land the plane in a school's yard near Chandler Drive in Clairemont, but the plane crashed four minutes after takeoff, skidding through the school yard's fence and into a nearby home. 

The home and the plane went up in flames.  

Dr. Mike Zareski and Robert Sterling were killed instantly. Reikes and Sterling's wife Dawn were injured but survived. 

Reikes' father told NBC 7 that his son was released from the hospital and was recovering. 

Dawn has since returned to Southampton to be with family.

Reikes had flown with Continental Airlines for nearly a decade, but had recently been working for Sun Country Airlines.

Sun Country Airlines released the following statement on the crash:

"Our thoughts are with all of those involved in this terrible accident. We're in touch with (the pilot's) family and are doing everything we can to support him and his family during this time."

According to Reikes' online profiles, he resided in Torrance, Calif. with his wife and child. His wife is a veterinarian.

Zareski was a father of four and a well-known veterinarian at the Western Veterinary Group in Torrance. 

Robert Stelling was a businessman. His wife Dawn owns an animal hospital in Southhampton, New York, according to the family's acquaintance Gil Flanagan. Together, they had three children. 

The Sterlings and Zareski were in San Diego for a veterinary conference. 

The home in Clairemont was still lined with police tape nearly a week after the crash. On Thursday, neighbors gathered near the crash site to remember the victims. 

Residents were still shocked by what happened in their neighborhood. 

"You can expect anything to happen on the streetcar accident, train accident — but you can never think that something from the sky is going to drop on you," neighbor Abe Bejjani said.

The plane was owned by Altitude Aviation Inc. in Hermosa Beach, California. A spokesperson for the company responded to NBC 7’s request for comment stating, “The NTSB and FAA are working on the investigation.”

An essential part of learning how to sail is learning what to do if the boat capsizes.

Mike Finocchiaro remembers that lesson, and the man who taught it to him—Robert Stelling—many years ago off the shore of the Southampton Peconic Beach and Tennis Club on the Great Peconic Bay in Shinnecock Hills.

He was on a Hobie Cat catamaran with Mr. Stelling and others, mentally preparing himself for the intentional capsize that was part of the lesson. He was frightened: He’d heard stories about Mr. Stelling being tossed into the rigging and getting scraped up.

So he asked Mr. Stelling if purposely flipping the boat over was really necessary.

“He hauled in the sheetline, looked at me, and said something to the effect of, ‘You can’t learn everything from a book—you’ve got this. I’ll be with you the whole time,’” Mr. Finocchiaro recalled earlier this week. “It was what he was all about: teaching and making you grow. He knew he wasn’t always going to be there with you, but he made sure he set you on the right path. It was that way with everything.”

Mr. Finocchiaro is one of countless people who learned about both sailing and life from Mr. Stelling during the nearly 40 years that his family has owned and operated the family-friendly beach club.

He’s also one of many community members now mourning the loss of Mr. Stelling, who died on Saturday at the age of 50 when a small private plane in which he was flying crashed into a house in San Diego, California.

He was a passenger in the six-seat single-engine airplane with his wife, Dawn Stelling, and two family friends. Ms. Stelling survived the crash with minor injuries and returned home to Southampton on Monday to be reunited with their three children.

The pilot, who was not immediately identified, also survived—but one family friend, still unidentified by authorities, also died.

Ms. Stelling, a veterinarian who owns the Olde Towne Animal Hospital on County Road 39 in Southampton, was in California with her husband for a veterinary conference. It’s not clear why the group was on the airplane, a 1995 Beechcraft Bonanza registered to Altitude Aviation Inc. of Hermosa Beach, California.

Earlier this week, multiple publications reported that the plane took off from Montgomery Field in San Diego, just east of Clairemont, California, at about 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, the pilot reported engine failure shortly after takeoff, and tried to make an emergency landing in a schoolyard.

After touching ground, the plane crashed into a fence and into the back of a house at approximately 4:35 p.m., the Union-Tribune reported. An investigation into the cause of the crash is being conducted by the National Transportation and Safety Board.

Earlier this week, friends and family were struggling to come to grips with the sudden loss of Mr. Stelling, who many described as a larger-than-life figure in the Southampton community.

They described the unique family vibe at the Southampton Peconic Beach and Tennis Club, and how Mr. Stelling cultivated a down-to-earth atmosphere reminiscent of a bygone era. Members describe a place steeped in old school nostalgia, with brightly painted cabanas, an ice cream counter, and faux palm trees “planted” on the beach.

Children who spent their summers jumping into the pool from the diving board and sharing a well-worn collection of communal toys stored under the beach deck often became employees as they entered their teenage years. Tradition and memory-making were sacred—and Mr. Stelling was a key part of it all.

Members fondly recalled how Mr. Stelling and his father, Robert Stelling Sr., known to most as Bob, attached a large bell to a wooden post bolted to the side of the restaurant. The younger Mr. Stelling would ring the large, loud bell several times just as the sun dipped below the horizon, as families sat on the outside deck, enjoying the spectacular views of the bay while eating dinner.

Gil Flanagan, a Southampton-based attorney, is a longtime club member and said he knew Mr. Stelling for at least 20 years. “He was the greatest host,” he said. “He always made a point to make everyone feel special and welcome.”

Mr. Stelling was idolized by many children who grew up going to the club with their families, learning to sail under his watch and paying those lessons forward years later, as they become sailing instructors at the club themselves.

One of them, Andy Schwinn, said he owes his love of sailing—and so much more—to Mr. Stelling.

“Robert had this ability to make you want to be involved with what he was doing. And it wasn’t to seek his approval or make him proud of you—it was because he was enjoying it and, in a way, you wanted to enjoy things as much as he was,” Mr. Schwinn said. “He made everything fun, period.

“He taught hundreds of kids how to sail, and the lessons weren’t just about sailing. I think he gave us all a sense of responsibility and freedom that you couldn’t get playing on a sports team or doing other activities.

“I don’t think that Robert was intentionally trying to shape lives, teach people life lessons, or make you idolize him,” Mr. Schwinn continued. “He just had this inherent quality that made him do that by being who he was. I can’t think of a single person who went to the beach club and grew up with Robert who didn’t feel that way about him.”

Similar sentiments were expressed on Facebook by others close to Mr. Stelling and his family: stories of his joie de vivre, his love of the beach and sailing, and how he was at once a dear friend, mentor and role model.

“When it came to working for the beach club, Robert and his father had very high expectations for the employees,” Mr. Finocchiaro said. “Myself and so many others attribute our work ethic and where we are today to Robert and his father, Bob.”

Mr. Finocchiaro said he will miss his friend, but, in a tribute to Mr. Stelling on Facebook, he spoke about how he would remember him—sipping on a Red Stripe beer, wearing a floral shirt and sunglasses, relaxing at the beach, toes in the sand, with steel drum music playing in the background.

“I will never forget you,” he wrote at the conclusion of his post. “I went to your parents’ house last night. We spend hours talking. My eyes kept getting drawn to a small sign that sat in the window. I can’t get the saying out of my head, and hope I never do. It read: Memories made at the beach last a lifetime.”

Funeral arrangements were incomplete as of Tuesday afternoon.

Story and photo gallery ➤

Robert Stelling

A married couple, Dawn and Robert Stelling were passengers on the plane that crashed in a Clairemont school park and burst into flames in the backyard of a nearby home on Saturday.

Dawn survived, Robert did not.

The couple lives in Southampton, New York with their three children.

Gil Flanagan, an acquaintance of Robert Stelling for over 20 years, discussed the loss of his friend with NBC 7.

"Robert was one of the nicest people I’ve ever known," Flanagan said. "It's a terrible loss. This whole community will miss him and we stand behind him and his family."

Flanagan said Robert Stelling, 50, was the owner of a beach and tennis club.

He said Dawn Stelling owns an animal hospital. She and her husband were in San Diego attending an annual veterinary medicine conference before the crash.

They were also visiting a friend, the other victim killed in the crash. NBC 7 has not been able to confirm that person's identity.

Dawn Stelling is on her way home to Southampton to be with her family.

Flanagan said the couple was on the plane because Dawn "wanted to see San Diego from the sky."

The plane, a 1995 Beechcraft Bonanza, was a six-seat single-engine airplane. It was registered to Altitude Aviation Inc., out of Hermosa Beach, California.

Calls to the owners of Altitude Aviation have yet to be returned.

Story and video:

Max Sansa

A San Diego man believes the fact that he was not in the backyard of his home when a small plane crashed is a miracle.

Max Sansa left his Clairemont home for work at 4:13 p.m. Saturday.

At 4:25 p.m., a plane fell from the sky shortly after takeoff from Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport.

The plane exploded into flames, killing two people and destroying the home.

The pilots were trying to land in a nearby schoolyard, however, the plane crashed through a fence and skidded into Sansa's yard on Chandler Drive. 

Sansa’s wife and 2-year-old daughter had left that morning to visit family in New York.

“If they weren't in New York, they would be here," Sansa said pointing to the living room. "It's gone. It's all burned."

His friend, Daniel, was staying with him. The two of them had done yard work in the backyard before the crash.

They had finished lunch and were deciding what to do next when Daniel's girlfriend came by.

“They were going to have a nap and Daniel lives in the room where the plane hit,” Sansa said. “But they decided to go to Point Loma for a walk. So that saved their lives.”

The brush with death still weighs on Sansa.

All that’s left of his backyard is an orange tree and part of a hammock.

“We have nothing left,” he said.

When asked what he’s going to do, Sansa suggests waiting a couple of years for the answer.

“I don't know. But I know I have to keep going,” he said.

The generosity of others is part of what keeps him going.

A neighbor stopped by to drop off clothes even during our interview.

“It just gives me hope,” he said.

Sansa says his wife and daughter get back this weekend. Until then he is staying with friends.

The plane, a 1995 Beechcraft Bonanza, was a six-seat single-engine airplane. It was registered to Altitude Aviation Inc., out of Hermosa Beach, California.

On Monday, one of the people killed in the crash was identified as Robert Stelling, 50, of South Hampton, New York. Stelling and his wife were visiting San Diego for a veterinary medicine conference.

Two other occupants of the plane — a man and a woman — walked away from the crash.

Story and video:

SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - The investigation continued Monday after a small plane crashed into a home in Clairemont on Saturday - killing two people on board the plane and a 16-year-old poodle inside a home.

The plane's pilot reported a catastrophic engine failure shortly after takeoff from Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport to the east, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue Department chief Brian Fennessy. The plane first grounded on the property of the nearby Lafayette Elementary School and slid into the home.

There were a total of four people on board the plane, according to SDFD.

According to a New York paper, one of the victims is Robert Stellin, the owner of a tennis club in Southhampton. He and wife, a veterinarian, were in San Diego for a conference.

She survived the crash. A family friend, who has not been identified, was the second person killed in the crash.

Kyle Thomas lives next door. He said he ran outside, where he hear one of the survivors - a woman - screaming for help. "It was a horrible scream."

Based on the path of destruction, it appears the plane tried to land in the yard, but instead hit trees, went trough a fence, across a pool and through another fence before striking the home.

At the time of the crash, the 16-year-old poodle, Biggie, was home alone.

The plane is registered to Altitude Aviation Inc., out of Hermosa Beach.

Officials confirmed the plane left Torrance earlier during the day on Saturday and made a brief stop in San Diego before taking off again. The male pilot and female passenger survived the crash.

Two males trapped inside the wreckage were killed.

Gurujan Dourson and his fiance were walking their four-year-poodle, Charlie when they saw the plane go down. "It was completely unreal." Charlie ran-off after being spooked by the crash.

Neighbors said they saw her get hit by a car during the chaos, but has not been seen since. "At night, when I try to sleep I think of her out there and that is hard. That is the hardest part."

The exact cause of the crash remains under investigation.

A Gofundme page has been set up for the people who live in the home where the plane crash to help them with what they lost.

Story and video ➤

couple from Southampton, an affluent seaside community in New York, were among the victims of a Saturday plane crash that killed two people and destroyed a San Diego house.

Dawn and Robert Stelling were in the single-engine Beech B36 Bonanza when its engine failed over the community of Clairemont. The plane crash-landed in baseball field next to Lafayette Elementary School, skidded into a house and burst into flames.

Dawn Stelling, one of three passengers in the plane, was injured, but was able to walk away from the wreckage, according to friends, San Diego officials and New York media reports. Her husband, Robert Stelling, was killed.

The other fatally injured passenger and the hurt pilot were not identified.

Friends on social media described Robert Stelling as a kind, genuine man who was a valued member of the prosperous community.

Federal records show the plane was owned by Altitude Aviation, which provides private jet charter services to corporations and individuals.

An unidentified employee said the company is cooperating with investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

The six-seat plane took off from Montgomery Field, a half-mile east of Clairemont, about 4:30 p.m. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot reported an engine failure, San Diego Fire-Rescue Chief Brian Fennessy has said.

It appeared the pilot tried to land the plane in the open space of the schoolyard and adjacent park, the chief said. The plane hit the ground upright and traveled 100 to 200 yards, plowed through at least one fence, then smashed into the house.

Max Sansa, who lives in the home with his wife and 2-year-old daughter, had left for work just 10 minutes earlier.

They lost everything in the fire, including their 16-year-old Maltese poodle who was in the backyard at the time, said Liz Serrano, Sansa’s wife. She and her daughter were in New York visiting family members.

Two GoFundMe accounts have been created to help the family recoup their losses.

Although it’s unclear why Dawn and Robert Stelling were on the plane, a friend said the couple was in San Diego for a four-day veterinarian conference. The Fetch! event for veterinary professionals was held at the San Diego Convention Center Thursday through Sunday.

Dawn Stelling is a veterinarian at the Olde Town Animal Hospital in Southampton, which she owns, according to the hospital’s website and local media reports. Her husband was the general manager of the Southampton Peconic Beach and Tennis Club, a well-established and private club on the Great Peconic Bay.

Robert Stelling’s parents have owned the business since 1978, according to its website.  The couple has three children.

Story and video ➤

UPDATE: Beach Club Owner Robert Stelling Killed In San Diego Plane Crash; Wife Dawn Stelling Survives Crash, Returning To Southampton

UPDATE: 4:45 p.m.

Mr. Stelling’s wife, Dawn Burns Stelling, was on the plane at the time of the crash, but survived, and was returning to Southampton on Monday, according to a close family friend who asked not to be identified.

The friend said that the Stellings, along with a friend they were visiting in San Diego while attending an annual veterinary medicine conference, were on the plane with the pilot. Mr. Stelling and the family friend were killed in the crash, while Ms. Stelling and the pilot survived.

The family friend was not immediately identified.

It’s not clear why the group was on the airplane, a 1995 Beechcraft Bonanza, a six-seat single-engine airplane registered to Altitude Aviation Inc. out of Hermosa Beach, California.

Original Story:

The owner of the Southampton Peconic Beach and Tennis Club in Shinnecock Hills was killed in the crash of a small plane in San Diego, California, on Saturday.

Robert Stelling, 50, of Southampton was a passenger on a single-engine, six-seat Beech BE36 Bonanza, which multiple publications reported took off from Montgomery Field in San Diego, just east of Clairemont, California, at about 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.

According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, the pilot reported engine failure shortly after takeoff, and tried to make an emergency landing in a schoolyard. After touching ground, the plane crashed into a fence and into the back of a house at approximately 4:35 p.m., the publication read.

Mr. Stelling’s wife, Dawn Burns Stelling, owns the Olde Towne Animal Hospital on County Road 39 in Southampton, where a spokesperson confirmed that Mr. Stelling was killed in the crash. No other details were provided by the spokesperson, other than to say she had received confirmation from members of the Stelling family.

An investigation into the cause of the plane crash is being conducted by the National Transportation and Safety Board.

Multiple calls to the San Diego Police Department seeking confirmation of the events were not immediately returned.

The Stelling family has owned the Southampton Peconic Beach and Tennis Club since 1978.

Gil Flanagan, a Southampton-based attorney, said he knew Mr. Stelling for at least 20 years, and was a member of the Peconic Beach and Tennis Club. He said he heard about Mr. Stelling’s death through another club member, and is upset at the news.

“He was the greatest host,” Mr. Flanagan said. “He always made a point to make everyone feel special and welcome.

“Whenever the sun went over the horizon, he would run over and ring a bell,” he added.

Original article can be found here  ➤

SAN DIEGO – The owners of a dog that went missing Saturday evening after a plane crashed into a Clairemont home, are asking for the public’s help finding the possibly injured dog.

Charlee was being walked when a power line snapped and scared her. She bolted into the neighborhood when she separated from her owners.  She was reportedly hit by a car and ran off limping.

Charlee may be injured and in shock so anyone who comes across her should approach with caution.

According to the FAA, the plane - a single-engine Beechcraft B36 Bonanza reported "catastrophic engine failure" shortly after takeoff from Montgomery field Saturday afternoon.

The plane crashed into a home on Chandler Drive near Mt. Abernathy Avenue and burst into flames.

Two people on board the plane died, two others were transported to a local hospital and a dog in the house was killed.

Kyle Thomas and his mother, 83-year-old Marcia Fields live next door to the house where the plane crash-landed. They showed FOX 5 video of the crash, the damage and just how close the plane came crashing through Fields’ bedroom window.

“It was sudden, it was violent and there was no warning,” said Thomas. “I believe the fence diverted the plane in this direction and prevented the plane from hitting our house.”

While their home did sustain quite a bit of damage, Thomas and Fields are just grateful to be alive and said their thoughts are with those who lost their lives.

“I would like to acknowledge the pilot as being a hero because he made the attempt to land and he did land,” said Thomas. “He just wasn’t able to stop the plane.”

The FAA and NTSB are investigating the crash.

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The Beech B36 Bonanza took off from Montgomery Field, a half-mile to the east, about 4:30 p.m., and shortly after the pilot radioed an engine failure, said San Diego Fire-Rescue Chief Brian Fennessy. The pilot reported an attempt would be made the land back at the airport.

It appeared the pilot tried to land the plane in the open space of the schoolyard and adjacent park, the chief said. The plane hit the ground upright and traveled 100 to 200 yards, plowed through at least one fence, then smashed into the house.

Neighbors heard a loud explosion, saw flames and called 911 to report a house fire. Fennessy said firefighters didn’t know a plane had crashed until they got to the house and saw it.

The plane and back of the house were engulfed in flames by then and no rescue was possible of two people trapped in the aircraft, the fire chief said.

Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said 50 officers headed to Chandler Drive, ready to help evacuate residents if the fire spread house to house.

Police officers saw a man and woman walking away from the fire, toward the park. Officers realized they were crash victims and got paramedics to assist them. The pilot and a passenger were taken to a hospital with burn injuries.

The names of the four victims were not released.

No one on the ground was injured.

Information on who owns the plane was also not available. The tail number burned up in the fire.

The street was lined with more than a dozen fire rigs for several hours.

The blaze was knocked down about 5 p.m. The home suffered extensive damage from both the fire and impact of the crash, the fire chief said.

Wade Treadwell, who lives on the street, said he was playing in nearby Olive Grove Community Park with his grandchildren when he heard a plane’s engine sputter.

The plane had just taken off, then turned, “like it was trying to get wind underneath its wings,” and then crashed, he said.

Donna Null, who lives across the street, said she heard an explosion and went outside, where she saw neighbors running toward the house.

Her son ran to the park and could see the tail of a plane sticking out of the house, she said.

Neighbors tried to get into the house, but said the doors were locked. They broke windows and began putting water on the flames from a garden hose until firefighters arrived.

Abe Bejjani, who lives next door to the house, said he was watching television when he heard a “big explosion” that he thought might have been a propane barbecue blowing up.

“All of a sudden, I see a big fire coming toward my house,” he said. He ran toward the flames and helped break the windows. They didn’t hear any cries for help or screaming, he said.

He went back and turned his hose on his roof to guard against embers setting it on fire, he said.

Bejjani’s daughter, Roula, said a firefighter brought over one of the dead dogs, known as Mr. Biggie.

“It could easily have been our house,” she said.

The FAA and National Transportation and Safety Board will be investigating what caused the plane to crash, officials said.

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Two people were killed after a small plane crashed into the backyard of a Clairemont Mesa home Saturday evening. 

A Beech BE36 Bonanza aircraft went into the backyard of a home on Chandler Drive, near Interstate-805 and Balboa Avenue, at about 4:34 p.m., according to FAA spokesperson Allen Kenitzer.

The occupants of the aircraft reported engine failure shortly after departing Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in San Diego at approximately 4:30 p.m., San Diego Fire Department said. The pilots were attempting to land in an open area of a nearby school yard, however, the plane tore through the school yard fence and skidded into the yard of a nearby home.

The home and the plane quickly became engulfed in flames.

Local authorities said there were four people onboard the aircraft, Kenitzer said.

Two people were found dead at the scene, and first responders transported a man and a woman seen walking away from the aircraft to the University of California San Diego to be treated for burn injuries. 

Kenitzer said local authorities reported no one on the ground was injured and no one was in the home at the time of the crash.

The plane crash occurred about a half-mile from Montgomery-Gibbs Field.

San Diego Gas & Electric reported that a foreign object came into contact with a power line at approximately 4:34 p.m., when the crash occurred. The areas of Clairemont and Kearny Mesa may experience power outages due to the crash. 

Power should be restored by 7:30 p.m., according to SDG&E.

The National Transportation Safety Board is responding to investigate the crash.

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - Emergency crews are responding to a small plane crash into a Clairemont home.

The crash happened at around 4:30 p.m in the 6200 block of Chandler Driver, north of Balboa Avenue and south of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, east of Interstate 805.

The plane's pilot reported a catastrophic engine failure shortly after takeoff, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department chief Brian Fennessy. The plane first grounded on the property of the nearby Lafayette Elementary School and slid into the home.

There were a total of four people onboard the plane, according to SDFD. Two passengers died in the crash and two others were transported to an area hospital.

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department firefighters and other emergency responders are on scene. At least two people were being treated for injuries., according to SDFD.

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SAN DIEGO – At least two people died Saturday afternoon when a small plane crashed into a home in the Clairemont neighborhood of San Diego.

The plane crashed into a home in the 6000 block of Chandler Street near Abernathy Avenue at about 4:40 p.m., according to Monica Munoz with San Diego Fire-Rescue. The crash caused the home to burst into flames.

The plane took off from Montgomery Field and the engine stalled, according to FOX 5’s reporting partner,  the San Diego Union-Tribune. It was carrying four people according to an emergency responder who was not at the crash scene. Two of the people on the plane were killed. Two others were taken to a hospital with unknown injuries the emergency responder said.

Richard King, who lives on the street where the plane crashed, was on his roof putting up Christmas lights when he heard what sounded like a propane tank exploding. When he looked toward the sound, he saw smoke and flames rising from a neighbor’s home. When he got to the backyard of the home, he saw the wreck of a small, single-engine plane in the house.

King and other neighbors broke windows of the home and called inside, but they didn’t hear and response, When King tried to enter the home through the front door, the black smoke was so thick that he was only able to get about 5 feet into the home before he had to back out.

Two viewers sent FOX 5 photos showing a plume of smoke rising in the sky, but it is not clear from the photos what is burning.

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