Saturday, February 23, 2019

Beechcraft D55 Baron, registered to a private individual and operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 cross country flight, N533Q: Fatal accident occurred February 21, 2019 in Stallion Springs, Kern 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
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Continental Motors Group; Mobile, Alabama

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: Stallion Springs, CA
Accident Number: WPR19FA086
Date & Time: 02/21/2019, 1645 PST
Registration: N533Q
Aircraft: Beech 55
Injuries: 3 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Business 

On February 21, 2019, about 1645 Pacific standard time, a Beech D55 multi-engine airplane, N533Q, impacted terrain near Stallion Springs, California. The private pilot and both passengers were fatally injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, cross country flight. Visual meteorological conditions were reported near the accident site about the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from San Luis County Regional Airport (SBP), San Luis Obispo, California, at 1600 and was destined for Whiteman Airport (WHP), Los Angeles, California.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted rising mountainous snow capped terrain on an approximate heading of 125° magnetic, at an elevation of about 6,700 ft mean sea level (MSL). All major structural components of the airplane were located at the accident site. The wreckage debris path was about 392 ft from the initial impact point (IIP) to the last piece of identified wreckage. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech
Registration: N533Q
Model/Series: 55 D55
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: KTSP, 4001 ft msl
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site:  9 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling:
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: San Luis Obispo, CA (SBP)
Destination: Los Angeles, CA (WHP) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 35.047500, -118.596944 (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

Around 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 21, KCSO was notified of an overdue plane that was traveling from San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles. The overdue aircraft was a 
Beechcraft D55 Baron three passengers.

KCSO patrol began a search in the area of Interstate 5 and Highway 166, with the search leading them to the Tehachapi Mountains.

The original search was led by patrol units and Search and Rescue assisted.

KCSO coordinated with the Civil Air Patrol, Kern County Fire Department and the California Office of Emergency Services.

Efforts continued until 3:30 a.m.

The area is mountainous and had two to three feet of snow during the time of the search.

KCSO requested Civil Air Patrol to fly over the mountains and kept Search and Rescue team members on standby.

Patrol deputies began the search on Friday morning with Search and Rescue and Kern County Fire, who located the wreckage at about 10:30 a.m. Much of the wreckage was buried under about 5 feet of snow.

One passenger was confirmed deceased initially, while the other two were not immediately located. Search and Rescue Sergeant Steven Williams confirmed later that two other bodies had been located under several feet of snow and downed trees.

The passengers killed were Felipe Iniguez Plascencia, 53, of Whittier; Ruben Piranian, 74, of Granada Hills; and Marina Villavicencio, 38, of Yorba Linda.

Felipe Plascencia
December 13, 1965 ~ February 21, 2019 

Prominent attorney Felipe Plascencia perished in an airplane crash in the Tehachapi Mountains on Thursday night at the age of 53. The La Habra Heights resident was returning from a court appearance in San Luis Obispo when the Beechcraft D55 Baron he was in went down. In addition to Plascencia, and the pilot, the crash killed attorney Marina Villavicencio aged 38. Plascencia was an extremely well respected trial attorney and political activist. Plascencia was nationally regarded as as an expert in driving under the influence cases and he was frequently asked to lecture on the subject to both the legal community and members of law enforcement.

Plascencia was born in Tepatitlan, Jalisco, Mexico in 1965. He immigrated to Santa Ana, California at the age of seven with his parents Rafael Plascencia, Maria Guadalupe Plascencia and three brothers and a sister. Plascencia attended Los Amigos High School in Fountain Valley and while at Los Amigos he distinguished himself academically. He was also a top varsity athlete on the soccer, cross country and track team. Plascencia did so while working a number of jobs throughout his childhood to contribute to his family’s household.

Plascencia matriculated to California State University Fullerton where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While at CSUF, Plascencia actively participated in student organizations to advocate on behalf of Latino and other minority students. It was in college that Plascencia met and married his sweetheart, Yolanda Brito Plascencia who attended Santa Ana College.

In 1990 Loyola Law School admitted Plascencia and he continued to be active in politics focusing on issues that impacted the working poor and underserved immigrant communities. Upon graduation from Loyola Law School in 1993, Plascencia remained a loyal alumnus and regularly donated his time and money to the institution.

Prior to opening his own practice, Plascencia served as a Los Angeles County Deputy Public Defender, and a Deputy City Attorney for the City of Compton. A graduate of the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyer’s College, Plascencia regularly lectured on trial techniques and often mentored law students and new lawyers. A life long student of psychology and human nature, Plascencia encouraged lawyers to empathize with all those involved in the legal process and role play the perspectives of all participants in a case before trial. Plascencia was known for his charming, down to earth style in front of a jury and his relentless advocacy on behalf of his clients. In 2009 he was recognized as the Attorney of the Year by the Mexican American Bar Association, and he was introduced by then Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley. 

Plascencia remained active in California politics and was President of the Mexican American Bar Association Political Action Committee from 2005 to present. During his presidency Plascencia raised the visibility of MABAPAC in Los Angeles county and Sacramento. Plascencia, a lifelong Democrat, encouraged MABAPAC to endorse the candidates they felt would best serve the community regardless of political affiliation. The annual MABAPAC mixer, held at Plascencia’s residence in La Habra Heights, hosted prominent members of the legal and political communities.  Plascencia is survived by his wife Yolanda, and his daughters Magali and Alena. Additionally he is survived by his father Rafael and his siblings Ramon, Rosa, Moises, Rafael, Joseph, and Erika.

Marina Isabelle Villavicencio
January 9th, 1981 – February 21st, 2019 

Marina Isabelle Villavicencio was the first-born child of Isauro and Antonia Villavicencio. She was born on January 9, 1981 in Santa Monica, California. She was a beautiful baby girl and a joy to her parents. Tragically, Marina was taken on the evening of February 21, 2019. Marina was only 38 years old and at the prime of her life. Marina attended St. Catherine of Laboure Catholic School in Redondo Beach, California. She went on to attend and graduate from El Dorado High School in Placentia, CA. After high school she attended Cal State University, Fullerton, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. Marina was confident, self-assured and courageous in her next challenge. Marina attended Western State College of Law where she graduated with her Law Degree on December 2, 2013. 

In 2017, Marina founded the Villavicencio Law Firm. Marina was a member of the Mexican American Bar Association – Political Action Committee (MABA-PAC), where she served as a Board Member. She was a dedicated warrior in the battlefield of social justice and promoted equality for all. Despite her busy schedule, Marina always made time to serve her local community. She was a Professor for Paralegal Studies at Fullerton College, and a mentor to future law students. In addition, she also coached girls soccer, Marina was very family oriented and was involved in all family activities. She was admired, respected and often loved by her peers, colleagues and almost everyone she came to know. Marina was known for her loyalty and love of family, friends, clients and anyone in need of a friend or just a helping hand. 

Marina had a life-long passion for soccer and loved playing the sport throughout her life. Marina had an incredible smile that would light up a room. She had a way of captivating people with her smile, charm, and witty sense of humor. Marina always brought comfort, joy, smiles, and laughter to those around her. Marina is survived by her parents Isauro, Antonia, her brother Richard and sisters Bianca and Evelyn.

Three people killed in a small plane crash in the Tehachapi Mountains were identified by the Kern County coroner on Monday, and among them was a longtime public defender.

Felipe Plascencia, a 53-year-old resident of Whittier, was also a nationally recognized figure in DUI cases in the latter half of his career.

Defenders and prosecutors throughout Southern California honored him Monday night on social media, praising him as a relentless advocate and beloved mentor.

In one photo, Plascencia is seen with fellow attorney Marina Villavicencio, of Yorba Linda, who was also killed in the crash on Thursday night.

The third victim was identified as Ruben Piranian, a resident of Granada Hills.

The Beechcraft D55 Baron was reported overdue Thursday on a flight from San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles.

Kern County authorities spotted the wreck on Saturday and retrieved the bodies over the weekend. Much of the wreckage was under about 5 feet of snow.

Federal investigators are trying to determine the cause of the crash.

Story and video ➤

TEHACHAPI — The three victims of the plane crash in the Tehachapi Mountains were recovered Sunday afternoon, the Kern County Sheriff's Office reported Sunday night.

"All bodies were under several feet of snow and trees that had fallen over and among the wreckage," Search and Rescue Sgt. Steven Williams said outside the Golden Hills Community Services District office.

He said the wreckage of the Beechcraft D55 Baron, which was first reported missing Thursday night during a snowstorm, was buried in many pieces on Cummings Mountain under about five feet of snow at an elevation of some 6,700 feet. All major components of the plane were found.

"Getting to the bodies was extremely difficult and working under those conditions was also difficult," the sergeant said. "We ended up flying them out."

The identities of the three people will be released by the coroner's division of the Sheriff's Office.

KCSO's operation is concluded, he said, adding that there will be operations in the future to recover the aircraft.

"It will be up to the owners of the aircraft and the property owners to make arrangements to remove the aircraft," he said.

The Sheriff's Office was first called around 10:30 p.m. Thursday for a plane that had an overdue flight plan from San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles.

One person was confirmed dead Friday as crews worked to find the plane.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will continue investigating the incident. Other agencies involved in the operation were the Civil Air Patrol, Kern County Fire Department and California Office of Emergency Services.

Original article can be found here ➤

Sgt. Steve Williams of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue Team.

Search crews on Friday found the wreckage of a small airplane that crashed on a mountaintop near Tehachapi, along with at least one body, officials said.

The remains of one person were immediately found at the crash scene, Sgt. Steve Williams of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue Team said.

But the airplane was reported to have three people on board, he said. Deep snow in the area slowed down the search process at the crash site, which was inaccessible by roads.

“We have been able to confirm there is the remains of at least one body at the wreckage site,” Williams said. “The report is that there were three people on board. We’re still attempting to confirm that.”

The search began Thursday night after the son of the pilot contacted the Federal Aviation Administration to report his father’s airplane, which was traveling from San Luis Obispo to Whiteman Airport in Pacoima, was overdue.

The Beechcraft D55 Baron took off about 4 p.m., FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.

No information was available Friday about what may have gone wrong.

“During it’s flight, it disappeared,” Williams said.

A signal from a cell phone aboard the plane helped search crews find the wreckage, about nine miles west of Tehachapi, officials said.

With help from a Kern County Fire Department Helicopter, as well as the Civil Air Patrol, searchers found the crash site Friday afternoon.

Anyone with information can reach the Kern County Sheriff’s Office at 661-861-3110.

Story and video ➤

The Kern County Sheriff's Office confirmed Friday afternoon that at one person died and two are unaccounted for after a plane crash near Cummings Mountain sometime Thursday during a snowstorm.

A Beechcraft D55 Baron traveling from San Luis Obispo and heading for Whiteman Airport in Pacoima in Los Angeles was reported missing by the son of the pilot at around 10:30 p.m. Thursday after the aircraft failed to reach its destination, said Sgt. Steven Williams of the Kern County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue Unit.

Cummings Mountain is part of the Tehachapi Mountains. The plane's wreckage was found on Cummings Mountain, which rises above the Stallion Springs Police Department.

The Federal Aviation Administration launched an investigation, Williams said, including the search of at least one of the cell phones belonging to one of the passengers in addition to an analysis of radar that was conducted and led searchers to the discovery of the crash site around 10:30 a.m. Friday.

A body was discovered one hour later next to the crash site. However, rescue attempts of the other two occupants of the plane were unsuccessful due to the steep terrain and snow drifts in excess of three feet.

Assisting in the search was the Kern County Fire Department and Civil Air Patrol.

"Because of the terrain and several feet of snow, we haven't been able to go through the wreckage and determine exactly how many remains we have," Williams said.

The search for the missing passengers will resume Friday evening when Snow Cats will be used to blaze a trail to the crash site, Williams said.

The identity of the victim has not been confirmed, and the cause of the crash is still under investigation. Williams could not confirm the city of residence of the victim or the other people on the plane.

Original article can be found here ➤


  1. he was quite far east of any route between these two locations..

  2. The New Tone of San Luis ObispoTuesday, February 26, 2019 at 8:31:00 AM EST

    Normally, pilots go down through San Marcos VOR for better terrain between those points. They were not on an IFR plan apparently.

  3. I'm seeing his name in the Airmen's registry as a student pilot. The registry says carrying passengers prohibited. Anyone else find him on the registry?

  4. I think it's safe to assume that if he's flying a twin-engine airplane, he has a pilot's license. Hopefully he also has a multi-engine & instrument rating as well.

  5. He was a 74 year old commercial rated pilot and the operator of the FBO Burbank Air Service. His commercial and instrument ratings were for single engine aircraft only.
    The aircraft did not belong to the pilot but to yet another pair of attorneys in SoCal.

    Certificate: COMMERCIAL PILOT
    Date of Issue: 7/21/2017


    Type Ratings:

    CE-500 (VFR ONLY).

  6. Will be interesting to see if this is another SoCal 134.5 operation.

  7. ^^^ Sure does read that way.

    RIP to all

  8. What is a SO. Cal 134.5 OPeration?

  9. The pilot has been involved in numerous crashes of aircraft and court records show that he had flown and crashed aircraft before that he was not rated or qualified to fly. He was also involved in lawsuits regarding his mechanic's licenses for doing improper work and inspections on aircraft. FAA pulled his mechanic/inspection license, but he still performed work while he was suspended. He was know to fly people for money in his customer's plane without their knowledge. It was only a matter of time. Too bad he killed other people, but thank GOD he didn't crash into a school, hospital or mall. Newspaper reports show that he did crash into a car lot several years ago and injured a passenger. Aircraft was on a test flight after he performed maintenance on it and it ran out of gas. Per FAA regulations, he should not have had anyone aboard.

  10. Researched further and found that aircraft involved was Classified as Special Flight Permit; This means aircraft could only be operated legally for

    Flying aircraft to a point for repairs, alterations, maintenance, or storage (for example, ferrying an aircraft from point A to point B).
    Delivering new aircraft to the base of a purchaser or to a storage point.
    Conducting production flight tests.
    Evacuating an aircraft from impending danger.
    Conducting customer demonstration flights in new production aircraft that have passed or completed production flight tests.
    Excess weight operations.

    This aircraft had previously be involved in a crash back East years ago. It may not have ever been legal to fly since. This fits exactly into the way the pilot operated and disregarded the FAA rules, for his own enrichment.