Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Cessna 150L, registered to N10789 LLC and operated by Rotor F/X, N10789: Fatal accident occurred September 03, 2018 at Whiteman Airport (KWHP), Pacoima, 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 
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Pacoima, CA

Accident Number: WPR18FA249
Date & Time: 09/03/2018, 1710 PDT
Registration: N10789
Aircraft: Cessna 150L
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional

On September 3, 2018, about 1710 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 150L airplane, N10789, impacted terrain shortly after take off from the Whiteman Airport (WHP), Los Angeles, California. The certified flight instructor was fatally injured, and the passenger was seriously injured; the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to N10789 LLC and was operated by Rotor F/X as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 local instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed.

Witnesses reported that they observed the airplane climbing very slowly with the engine making a popping noise. The airplane appeared to "stop" before it made a sharp descending left turn. The airplane spun once before it impacted the roof of a building followed by the pavement below.

The airplane has been recovered to a secure location for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna

Registration: N10789
Model/Series: 150L
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Rotor F/X
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions

Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: VNY, 802 ft msl
Observation Time: 1651 PDT
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 17°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots / 16 knots, 140°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.81 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Los Angeles, CA (WHP)
Destination: Los Angeles, CA (WHP)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal

Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude:  34.257222, -118.408889 (est)

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

The pilot was killed and his passenger, a boy, was critically hurt when a small plane crashed in Pacoima Monday on take-off from Whiteman Airport.

The plane came down just east of the main runway, and inside an adjacent facility of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.  Personnel ran to the scene, extinguishing the fire that erupted, and pulling the two inside from the wreckage, according to fire officials.

Moments after rising up from the runway, the Cessna 150, a two-seater, experienced an unknown problem that was reported to the tower over the radio.  On its descent, the plane clipped a building, and flipped onto its back, according to Amy Bastman of the Los Angeles City Fire Department.

Both victims were transported to trauma centers. The pilot did not survive. Late Tuesday, the coroner's office was attempting to notify next of kin of the pilot, and was withholding the name of the man in his sixties.

There was no further update on the condition of the 12-year-old victim, Bastman said.

No one on the ground was hurt.

The crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration and Whiteman Airport.  Tuesday investigators could be seen examining the wreckage.

Witnesses reported hearing no engine sound as the aircraft plummeted to the ground.

The county facility is not a fire station per se, but a storage area and home of such special operations as Urban Search and Rescue and Heavy Equipment, which runs the bulldozers used to create breaks, fight wildfires, and respond to flood and debris flow emergencies.

The Heavy Equipment team on duty Monday evening was enjoying a Labor Day dinner with family members when the aircraft came down.  They were outside, and some were startled to see the plane suddenly start to descend.

"It seemed like it had climbed, stalled, and then it veered to the left, and then did a corkscrew spin down into the top of the roof of our weightroom, and then proceeded to land upside down on the concrete, said Mike Roldan, a civilian transportation driver for county fire.

He and other members of the heavy equipment team grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran the some 150 yards to where the wreckage came down, and caught fire.  The extingisher was enough to put it out.

Both occupants were pinned inside the wreckage, and the safety harnesses would not unbuckle.  Roldan used a pocketknife to cut the seatbelt so the boy could be freed.  Others, including Justin Hall, extricated the boy from the crushed cabin.

"We let him know the ambulance was on the way, and tried to keep him calm, let him know he was going to be ok," said Hall, a senior fire supression aide.

"Very emotional," said Don DaMann, a senior heavy equipment operator.  "The guys that were here acted as quickly and professionally as they did.  And I really think that's what helped save that boy."  

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A man died and a boy was injured after a single-engine plane crashed at Whiteman Airport in Pacoima on Monday afternoon, officials said.

The crash happened about 5:09 p.m. at the facility located at 12653 Osborne St., according to an alert from the Los Angeles Fire Department.

As the Cessna 150L was taking off from the airport, it experienced an unknown problem, and an emergency was declared over the radio, Fire Department Capt. Erik Scott said. The aircraft then struck a building and landed upside down, the statement read.

Firefighters were able to extricate both victims who were on board. They were later identified by officials as a 12-year-old boy and a 60-year-old man.

Previously, the Fire Department identified the younger victim as being 13 years old. That may have been the case because a bulldozer crew said he was apparently celebrating his birthday on Monday.

The boy's father, who purchased the flying lesson as a birthday gift for his son, was at the airport and witnessed the crash, according to the crew.

The man—a flight instructor—suffered cardiac arrest and was given CPR before he and the boy were taken to nearby trauma centers, officials said.

The man was in grave condition but later died, a Fire Department spokesperson said. The juvenile was last listed in critical condition, according to the alert.

The Cessna crashed about a half-mile from the departure end of the runway, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

A small fire erupted following the crash, Scott said. The airport houses L.A. County Fire Department equipment and personnel, who also witnessed the crash and were able to quickly extinguish the flames in the engine compartment and render aid, he added.

As soon as the plane took off, it appeared to have some sort of mechanical problem, the fire captain stated. Personnel from the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board were investigating the incident, Gregor said.

The plane was registered in Sheridan, Wyoming, according to FAA records. However, KTLA's Tim Lynn confirmed that the aircraft was based at Whiteman Airport.

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