Friday, August 9, 2019

Wheeler Express Series 2000, N43FD: Fatal accident occurred August 07, 2019 at Camarillo Airport (KCMA), Ventura County, California

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys, California

Aircraft crashed short of the runway under unknown circumstances.

N43FD Airplane LLC

Date: 07-AUG-19
Time: 17:24:00Z
Regis#: N43FD
Aircraft Model: EXPRESS
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 2
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: APPROACH (APR)
Operation: 91

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 

SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake City couple died Wednesday after their plane crashed in Camarillo, California, according to officials.

John Wells, 60, and his wife, Tara Wells, 56, died in the crash, an official with the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office said Thursday. The couple’s cause of death was accidental and from multiple blunt force injuries, the official said.

The plane was a single-engine, homebuilt Express Series 2000 that crashed under unknown circumstances about 1,000 feet short of Runway 26 at Camarillo Airport around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Ian Gregor with Federal Aviation Administration confirmed to

"These are my favorite people in the whole wide world,” said the couple’s daughter, Emily Taylor Wells.

She said her parents had just retired together last year — Tara Wells was a speech therapist for local schools and John, who went by his middle name Bret, worked as an electrical engineer at Hill Air Force Base.

They were flying to a family wedding when the plane crashed. Emily Wells said her parents were one-of-a-kind.

“I feel really lucky that they were my parents because not everybody gets to have parents like I had,” she said Thursday.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash, Gregor said.

Officials presumed John Wells was flying the plane, considering he had a pilot’s license, James Baroni, with the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office, told VC Star, but Baroni said that information had not yet been verified by investigators.

The plane was registered to a limited-liability corporation in Taylorsville, the FAA told VC Star.

“They just loved living," Emily Taylor Wells said. "They loved seeing things. They loved exploring. They loved being together and you would definitely feel that.”

Story and video ➤

Authorities have identified the man and woman killed when a small plane crashed at the Camarillo Airport on Wednesday afternoon.

John Wells, 60, and his wife, Tara Wells, 56, were both from Salt Lake City, said James Baroni, an investigator with the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office. The cause of death had not yet been determined as of Thursday afternoon, he said. John Wells had a pilot’s license and is presumed to have been flying, Baroni said, but added that information has not yet been verified by aviation authorities investigating the incident.

The crash took place around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday when the plane was reportedly coming in to land, according to airport officials. The plane’s two occupants were pronounced dead at the scene. The airport is at 555 Airport Way.

The plane was an experimental Express Series 2000, according to aviation investigators. Records on file with the Federal Aviation Administration indicate it was an amateur-built craft made in 2002 from a Wheeler Aircraft Co. kit.

The plane came down about 1,000 feet short of the airport’s eastern runway, FAA officials said. The facility’s two runways and surrounding infrastructure form a long rectangle along the south side of Ventura Boulevard, stretching west from Las Posas Road past commercial and agricultural properties to the north.

Crash debris was visible from Ventura Boulevard east of Springville Drive, where chain-link fences surround the airport and aviation enthusiasts sometimes watch goings-on. A crowd had gathered along the fence line Wednesday as fire, ambulance and police personnel worked the scene. There was no fire at the crash site, firefighters said.

The incident is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.

NTSB investigators are currently in the fact-gathering stage and no additional details were available Thursday, an agency spokesman said. 

Investigators typically release preliminary findings a week to 10 days after an accident, he said. The agency’s full report will likely be complete about a year or a year-and-a-half from now, he said.

Original article can be found here ➤

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'll preface my statement. I have been flying into KCMA for many years and I am only speculating because the facts are still being investigated. Not trying to judge the fellow pilot's actions.
Listened to the ATC recordings for KCMA tower on LiveATC. This is a busy airport. The pilot seemed a little flustered even referring to the tower as "Camarillo Traffic" on his initial call. When approaching from the north, it's not uncommon for tower to ask you to identify the landmark "Saticoy Bridge". The pilot being unfamiliar to the area didn't know this landmark so tower had to give him an alternate way to identify being several miles out. Tower then points out traffic targets and he was cleared to land number 2 or 3. The pilot had a little nervous laugh when he said he was looking for traffic. There were no distress calls.
He was flying a plane with pretty slick wings. The runway has an unusually long displaced threshold (Rwy 26) and can create the illusion that the touchdown zone is closer than it really is. It's very easy for an unfamiliar pilot to get behind the power curve and drag the plane in over the threshold as they get closer and realize they're still a few hundred feet shy of the touchdown. Even easier to get slow when you're following a slow plane or two on final. We've all been there.
I'm only speculating but maybe he was preoccupied with the busy, unfamiliar airport and traffic and simply let the plane get a little too slow. We'll know more but initially this accident seems like something that could happen to anyone. We all know it only takes a moment on short final. Sincere condolences to their family.