Sunday, February 11, 2018

Cirrus VK-30, N52TH: Fatal accident occurred February 11, 2018 near Agua Dulce Airpark (L70), Los Angeles County, California

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys, California
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama 

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N52TH 

Location: AGUA DULCE, CA
Accident Number: WPR18FA088
Date & Time: 02/11/2018, 1059 PST
Registration: N52TH
Aircraft: HASTINGS THOMAS G CIRRUS VK 30
Injuries: 4 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On February 11, 2018, about 1059 Pacific standard time, an experimental amateur built Cirrus VK-30, N52TH, collided with the ground while maneuvering in the vicinity of Agua Dulce, California. The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane sustained damage to the fuselage and all the flight control surfaces. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions existed near the accident site, at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed for the flight. The cross-country flight originated from Henderson Executive Airport (HND), Las Vegas, Nevada, about 1000, with an intended destination of Van Nuys Airport (VNY), Van Nuys, California.

A witness, located in the vicinity of the accident site and accustom to hearing/seeing air traffic reported that he observed the airplane flying straight and level, about 2,000 ft to 3,000 ft above the ground. He stated that as the airplane got closer to the mountains it looked like the wind had pushed the right wing up. The airplane pitched downward into a near vertical attitude. The witness added that, when the right wing lifted, it sounded like the pilot "maxed the engine out". He further stated there was a distinct difference in engine sound from the first time he saw the airplane when it went vertical. He did not see any smoke, or anything fall from the airplane as it descended towards the ground.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted terrain adjacent to a series of power transmission lines about 2.5 miles south east of Agua Dulce. The wreckage was transported to a secure facility for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information


Aircraft Manufacturer: HASTINGS THOMAS G
Registration: N52TH
Model/Series: CIRRUS VK 30 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
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: KPMD, 2582 ft msl
Observation Time: 1853 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 14°C / -18°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots, 70°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.01 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed:  
Departure Point: LAS VEGAS, NV (HND)
Destination: VAN NUYS, CA (VNY)

Wreckage and Impact Information


Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 3 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 4 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 34.454722, -118.301111 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.



Edison refers all comment about power lines and plane crash to feds

Southern California Edison officials questioned about reports of power lines near the scene of last month’s fatal plane crash near Agua Dulce referred all official comment about the crash to federal aviation investigators.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board noted in their recently-released preliminary report that the airplane “impacted terrain adjacent to a series of power transmission lines about 2.5 miles southeast of Agua Dulce.”

A day after the fatal crash, The Signal asked Edison officials if the plane hit Edison wires?

On Feb. 16, Edison spokeswoman Susan Cox told The Signal: “Any inquiry into the Feb. 11 plane crash near Acton should be directed to the National Transportation Safety Board, the lead investigator.”

The Signal asked the same question of Edison officials Monday, in light of a NTSB preliminary report specifically mentioning the proximity of power lines to the crash site.

Edison spokeswoman Julia Roether, reiterated the utility’s response, telling The Signal: “All inquiries into the Feb. 11 plane crash near Acton should be directed to the lead investigator at National Transportation Safety Board.

In a telephone interview Monday, Roether was asked if Edison made repairs to any of its wires in Agua Dulce around the time of the crash.  She said: “Even if I knew, I wouldn’t be able to talk about it.”

When asked if efforts by Edison to fasten warning balls to power lines around the SCV in the days following the crash were scheduled work assignments or a response to the crash, Roether said: “I don’t have any information for you.”

On Feb. 11, an experimental amateur built Cirrus VK-30 airplane hit the ground while maneuvering in the vicinity of Agua Dulce.

The crash killed the pilot Thomas Gordon Hastings, 65, of Winnetka, and three members of his family including: his 27-year-old daughter Amber Hill; her husband, Jacob Hill, age 25; and the pilot’s 9-year-old granddaughter, Madison Hastings-Saxelby.

The NTSB report states: “A witness, located in the vicinity of the accident site and accustom to hearing/seeing air traffic reported that he observed the airplane flying straight and level, about 2,000 ft to 3,000 ft above the ground.

“He stated that as the airplane got closer to the mountains it looked like the wind had pushed the right wing up.

“The airplane pitched downward into a near vertical attitude.

“The witness added that, when the right wing lifted, it sounded like the pilot “maxed the engine out”.

The NTSB investigation is ongoing.

Original article can be found here ➤  https://signalscv.com



A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with funeral expenses for all four victims. To donate, click here.

AGUA DULCE, Calif. (KABC) --  A witness who saw a small plane moments before it crashed in the Agua Dulce area - which killed four family members -- described the frightening moments before and after the tragedy occurred.

Federal investigators were back at the scene of the crash on Monday, combing through the wreckage of the small plane that crashed in the mountain range of the area Sunday morning.

There are a few homes a few acres away from where the plane went down. One man, who didn't want to be identified, described what he and his family heard and saw right before the plane crashed near his home.

"Here comes the plane right over the house, literally banks off to the right, really low. I mean, obviously, we're in a ravine in some mountains here, and it clipped the power lines, and it spun it around, and we didn't see anything else after that. We just got in the truck, brought a shovel, tried to get there as fast as we could. My dad and my neighbor were the first people there, and it didn't look too grim. It was a sad, you know, sad site," he said.

Friends and family have identified the four on board as Tom Hastings, his daughter, Amber Hill, her husband, Jacob Hill, and the woman's daughter, 9-year-old Madison.

Neighbors near the Hastings' San Fernando Valley home said the family enjoyed flying the plane that Hastings built years ago for the family to enjoy.

"He loved to fly, and they tried to fly on vacations as much as they could," said friend Jean Buetow. "He even extended his garage out on the side street there to make room for it. He spent all of his free time working on it, putting it together."

While the investigation continues into what caused the crash, the man who described what he saw said he'll never forget what happened.

http://abc7.com

Madison Hastings Saxelby, 9, with her stepfather, Jacob Hill, 25, and mother Amber Hill, 27. (Hastings family)

Thomas Hastings, the pilot of the plane that crashed, and Joyce Hastings, who was not on board. (Hastings family)


A small plane crashed in the rugged hills near Agua Dulce and the 14 Freeway in northern Los Angeles County on Sunday morning, killing all four on board, authorities said.

The Cirrus VK-30 plane crashed near the intersection of Mesa Grande and Briggs roads on a hillside between the highway and Soledad Canyon Road, said Art Marrujo, Los Angeles County fire dispatch supervisor. The reports of the crash came in around 10:55 a.m., he said.


The pilot was identified by a family member as Thomas Hastings, 65, who was returning to his Winnetka home after a weekend trip to Las Vegas with his daughter Amber Hill, 27; her husband, Jacob Hill, 25; and her daughter, Madison Hastings Saxelby, 9.

"They do this trip every couple months," said the pilot's son Jake Hastings, 30. "A routine, normal thing."

It should have been an hourlong flight. Hastings began to worry when he didn't hear from his family an hour after they were due to arrive. He called his father and sister several times, but no one answered.

"I had an eerie feeling about it," he said.

Soon after, Hastings saw photographs of the crash on the news, and he knew right away: it was his father's plane. He recognized the Cirrus VK-30 — one of nine registered with the Federal Aviation Administration — as the one his father spent nearly a decade building in their garage.

He said the plane hit power lines before crashing about four miles from Agua Dulce Airpark.

Thomas Hastings was an avid and experienced flier who obtained his pilot license before he could drive, at 15, with dreams of becoming a fighter pilot, his son said. He ended up working instead as a mechanical engineer and was about a year away from retiring from his job at Haas Automation.

Since he finished building the plane in 1999, Thomas Hastings "traveled all around the world," his son said. The elder Hastings frequently volunteered for the Young Eagles program, which introduces youth to aviation with a free ride on an airplane.

"He's given thousands and thousands of rides," Jake Hastings said. "He just wants people to enjoy and love flying."

He said his sister, Amber Hill, was a successful eyelash-extension artist who enjoyed family vacations with her husband and daughter. At school, his niece, Madison, was known as the "mad scientist," a nickname she earned after making clay objects and edible slime concoctions.

"They love each other so much and had a great life," Jake Hastings said.

Recently, the family took the plane to Big Bear to celebrate Christmas. Most Fridays for the last couple of years, the whole family gathered for dinner.

"I got a chance to have so many experiences with them," he said.

The crash scene is being turned over to investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board.

The NTSB said in a tweet that the plane was a VK-30, a fixed-wing, single-engine aircraft sold by Cirrus Aircraft in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a kit plane when the company was known as Cirrus Design.

The VK-30 plane is classified as an amateur-built aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration, meaning that a "major portion" of the plan was fabricated and assembled by the owner for his or her own education or recreation.

The plane had undergone its annual inspection a month or so ago, the pilot's son said.

Former U.S. astronaut Robert Overmyer was killed in a VK-30 kit plane in 1996, according to news reports from the time.

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

Thomas Hastings, 65, is seen in a photo posted to his Facebook page. He was flying a small private plane that crashed near Santa Clarita on Feb. 11, 2018, killing him and three other people.





A small plane crashed in the rugged hills near Agua Dulce and the 14 Freeway in northern Los Angeles County on Sunday morning, killing all four on board, authorities said.

The Cirrus VK-30 plane crashed near the intersection of Mesa Grande and Briggs roads on a hillside between the highway and Soledad Canyon Road, said Los Angeles County Fire Dispatch Supervisor Art Marrujo. The fire reports of the crash came in around 10:55 a.m., he said.

The victims were only identified as three adults and one child.

The crash site is about 4 miles from the Agua Dulce Airpark but it is unclear if the plane was arriving or departing from the small strip.

Though the plane crashed, it did not catch fire, Marrujo said. The scene is being turned over to investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board.

The National Transportation Safety Board said in a tweet the plane was a VK-30, a fixed wing single-engine aircraft sold by Cirrus Aircraft in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a kit plane when the company was known as Cirrus Design.

The VK-30 plane is classified as an amateur-built aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration meaning a "major portion" of the plane was fabricated and assembled by the owner for their own education or recreation.

Former US astronaut Robert Overmyer was killed in a VK-30 kit plane in 1996, according to news reports from the time.

The aircraft is relatively rare — only nine are registered with the FAA.

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






AGUA DULCE, Calif. (KABC) --  A child and three adults were killed Sunday morning when a small plane crashed in the Agua Dulce area northeast of Santa Clarita, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Firefighters and sheriff's deputies responded shortly before 11 a.m. to the 30500 block of Briggs Road, where the wreckage of the aircraft was seen just a few feet from the roadway. The remote location is about a mile southeast of the Agua Dulce Road interchange on the 14 Freeway.

"The aircraft, a Cirrus, crashed under unknown circumstances," said Allen Kenitzer, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

LACFD Battalion Chief George Cruz said the deceased were a child under the age of 10, a woman and two men. They were not immediately identified.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident, Kenitzer said.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://abc7.com



SANTA CLARITA, California --  Four people were killed Sunday when a small, home-built plane crashed near a mountain town in Southern California, authorities said.

The private plane went down late Sunday morning in a remote canyon about 40 miles (73 km) north of downtown Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The aircraft broke apart and debris was strewn throughout dry brush alongside a dirt road near Agua Dulce.

The fire department confirmed four fatalities and said the coroner and Federal Aviation Administration officials responded. The victims were not immediately identified.

The single-engine plane was a Cirrus VK-30 classified as an experimental aircraft, according to FAA records. It's registered to Thomas G. Hastings, who built the plane in 1999, the online registry said. A message left on a phone number listed for Hastings was not immediately returned.  

FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer confirmed the aircraft was a Cirrus, but he did not immediately have additional details about the crash about 40 miles (73 km) north of downtown Los Angeles. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate, he said.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UR09ll3cvPM

Anonymous said...


Hmm...the prop isn't bent or broken, no fire.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if he was attempting an emergency landing on the road and didn't see the power lines and the gear caught them and flipped him. So sad, RIP fellow AV8R.

Anonymous said...

Witnesses said the engine was screaming, yet the plane was wings level in a steep descent. Plane impacted the 1-1/4 diameter power line, fracturing the cockpit, falling 100'. 3 blade Propeller clearly not spinning on impact. Mid-engine with pusher prop, unclear if it has some sort of driveshaft.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I just realized that this very plane has beautiful airborne shots in the movie "One Six Right"! Such a great loss for the aviation community and especially Van Nuys airport where I believe this aircraft was based.

jbermo said...

Many pilots who aim for a clearing (when facing a forced landing) in hilly or dense terrain, may not suspect that the clearing they see is also an easement for power lines. . . . at least the "pusher" engine is unmolested and available for inspection.

Anonymous said...

"Witnesses said the engine was screaming"

I did not hear that. If so maybe there was a mechanical problem-a broken drive shaft maybe.

LtCol Camilleri said...

I flew one of these several years ago, acted as co pilot for a cross country flight from NY to CA. The pilot / builder had accumulated just over 600 hours prior to our flight. While on approach in Kansas for refueling, we encountered an engine failure due to a failed rod bearing. We lost 90% of engine power while descending through five thousand, eight miles out on an ATC directed final.
This particular airplane design suffers from a lousy glide while engine out, even with the prop feathered and, a critical CG if in fact you have an engine out. If the CG is aft, the nose up during glide requires full nose down trim plus pilot input. A poor glide to begin with coupled with substantial trim translates to picking an off airport landing unless you are circling to land within the runway environment.
No idea of the events that led to this crash, but I can say from experience that if he had a power loss or malfunctioned prop .. he had his hands full to the last second. Passengers in the back seats may have loaded aft cg.

Anonymous said...

Doug Robertson Sad. I have many photos of N52TH in better days taken at KSZP and at KCMA uploaded to www.airport-data.com. Tom was a wonderful pilot and very engaging to talk to and with. His VK30 was the first one completed of 34 kits sold by Cirrus Design and designed by Jeff Viken and Allen Klapmeier. His aircraft had a Continental IO-550 of 300 Hp in the pusher design/configuration. Powerline strikes have downed many aircraft and red or orange balls improve visibility, but aren't and can't be everywhere.