Friday, January 10, 2020

North American T-28B Trojan, N5440F and Cessna 152, N48962: Fatal accident occurred March 13, 2019 at Compton-Woodley Airport (KCPM), Los Angeles County, California

Pilot Who Survived Fiery Plane Crash That Killed Friend Files Lawsuit

Ryan Davis, Flight Instructor
The Davis Family


Lukas Michael Swidinski, Student Pilot




A man who spent weeks in a coma before recovering from injuries in a fiery plane crash that killed his student and friend has filed a lawsuit saying the crash could have been prevented.

Pilot and flight instructor Ryan Davis said he's filing a lawsuit over a crash that happened last March at the Compton Woodley Airport, leaving the student pilot dead and him in a coma.

"My face was burnt, my arms are burnt, my legs are burnt," Davis said.

Just before 7 p.m. Davis was in the passenger seat of a Cessna airplane, his student pilot at the controls, when he says the pair announced they were coming in for a landing. They found an open runway and touched down safely.

"He did everything perfect," Davis said of his student pilot who has not been publicly named.

But then another plane unexpectedly landed behind them, hitting their aircraft.

"I don't remember the impact," Davis said. "The propeller came in, hit the left fuel tank and blew up the airplane."

Davis says the 84-year old pilot in a military training plane did not check to see if the runway was clear and never let anyone know he was landing.

The communication lapse is documented in an incident report from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department obtained by the NBC4 I-Team.

The report states the pilot told an investigator he had not used the airport's frequency, saying, "He had not because the radio is so low on the panel and the small numbers are difficult for him to read …"

Airports such as Compton Woodley do not have a control tower. A Federal Aviation Administration advisory says pilots should communicate with each other directly by radio. The pilot of the military plane, Ross Diehl, is now charged with involuntary manslaughter and careless and reckless operation of aircraft.

Davis is now also suing Diehl, accusing him of negligence.

"He violated a lot of very standard rules and he killed a man," said Dave Ring, Davis' attorney. "And he seriously hurt Ryan Davis because of outrageously reckless actions."

Diehl's attorney declined to comment about the case, but said in a statement that, "This tragic accident is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board which has yet to determine the probable cause.

"This matter is also the subject of litigation and it would be inappropriate and premature to comment on as-yet unproven allegations."

Also named in Davis' lawsuit are the military plane's owner, LA County, and the City of Compton, all of whom did not respond to requests seeking comment.

Davis hopes the tragedy will lead to better communication between pilots at small airports.

"I'm hoping that there can be a change that prevents this," he said. "Or at least reduces the chances of this happening again."

Davis said recovery has been difficult. The young father tries to find moments of relief in his painful recovery by enjoying the times he can sit at the piano with his baby girl. He hopes to eventually get back to his passion and his livelihood.

"Every time I think about it, I get chills," he said.

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


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

Additional Participating Entity: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Los Angeles, California

N5440F  Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


https://registry.faa.gov/N5440F

Location: Compton, CA
Accident Number: WPR19FA095A
Date & Time: 03/13/2019, 1855 PDT
Registration: N5440F
Aircraft: North American T28
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 



On March 13, 2019, about 1855 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 152 airplane, N48962, and a North American T-28 Trojan, N5440F, collided while landing on runway 25L at the Compton/Woodley Airport, Compton, California. The student onboard the Cessna was fatally injured and the flight instructor sustained serious injuries; the Cessna was destroyed after being consumed by fire. The Airline Transport Pilot onboard the T-28 was not injured; the T-28 sustained minor damage. The T-28 was operated by Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum and the Cessna was operated by the Long Beach Flying Club. Both airplanes were being operated under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as personal flights. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for either flight. The Cessna departed for a local instructional flight from the Long Beach Airport, Long Beach, California at an unknown time. The T-28 departed for a local personal flight from Whiteman Airport, Los Angeles, California about 1830 with a planned destination of Compton.


There were multiple video recordings that captured the accident. A review of the footage revealed that the Cessna touched down and continued on the landing roll out. The T-28 crossed over the runway threshold bar about 10 seconds after the Cessna and subsequently touched down. On the landing roll, adjacent to the "1/2" sign (indicates half of the runway remains), the T-28 impacted the Cessna resulting in an explosion.


The T-28 pilot stated that as he turned the airplane left from the base leg to final approach in the traffic pattern for runway 25L, he noticed a layer of haze on the horizon. The bright sun and the haze created a glare on the windscreen that obscured his forward vision making it difficult for him to see directly ahead. As he descended toward the runway, the glare became worse and he realized he was in between runway 25L and 25R. He side-stepped to runway 25L and the airplane touched down on the runway surface. Several seconds later, the pilot observed the Cessna on the runway ahead of him. He felt the impact with the other airplane and resulting explosion immediately thereafter. The T-28 continued about 1,000 ft before coming to rest off the right side of 25L (see figure 01).



Figure 01: Wreckage Distribution

Utilizing the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) sunrise/sunset calculator and solar position calculator, the time of sunset was 1859:24. The sun's azimuth at the time of the accident was 267° (see figure 02) and the elevation was 0.50° (about 90 ft above the horizon).

Figure 02: Solar Position 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information


Aircraft Make: North American

Registration: N5440F
Model/Series: T28 B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan


Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions

Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KHHR, 63 ft msl
Observation Time: 0153 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 0°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 11 knots / 16 knots, 270°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Los Angeles, CA (WHP)
Destination: Compton, CA (CPM)

Wreckage and Impact Information


Crew Injuries: 1 None

Aircraft Damage: Minor
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 33.889444, -118.240833




N48962 Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

https://registry.faa.gov/N48962

Location: Compton, CA
Accident Number: WPR19FA095B
Date & Time: 03/13/2019, 1855 PDT
Registration: N48962
Aircraft: Cessna 152
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On March 13, 2019, about 1855 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 152 airplane, N48962, and a North American T-28 Trojan, N5440F, collided while landing on runway 25L at the Compton/Woodley Airport, Compton, California. The student onboard the Cessna was fatally injured and the flight instructor sustained serious injuries; the Cessna was destroyed after being consumed by fire. The Airline Transport Pilot onboard the T-28 was not injured; the T-28 sustained minor damage. The T-28 was operated by Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum and the Cessna was operated by the Long Beach Flying Club. Both airplanes were being operated under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as personal flights. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for either flight. The Cessna departed for a local instructional flight from the Long Beach Airport, Long Beach, California at an unknown time. The T-28 departed for a local personal flight from Whiteman Airport, Los Angeles, California about 1830 with a planned destination of Compton.

There were multiple video recordings that captured the accident. A review of the footage revealed that the Cessna touched down and continued on the landing roll out. The T-28 crossed over the runway threshold bar about 10 seconds after the Cessna and subsequently touched down. On the landing roll, adjacent to the "1/2" sign (indicates half of the runway remains), the T-28 impacted the Cessna resulting in an explosion.

The T-28 pilot stated that as he turned the airplane left from the base leg to final approach in the traffic pattern for runway 25L, he noticed a layer of haze on the horizon. The bright sun and the haze created a glare on the windscreen that obscured his forward vision making it difficult for him to see directly ahead. As he descended toward the runway, the glare became worse and he realized he was in between runway 25L and 25R. He side-stepped to runway 25L and the airplane touched down on the runway surface. Several seconds later, the pilot observed the Cessna on the runway ahead of him. He felt the impact with the other airplane and resulting explosion immediately thereafter. The T-28 continued about 1,000 ft before coming to rest off the right side of 25L (see figure 01).


Figure 01: Wreckage Distribution

Utilizing the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) sunrise/sunset calculator and solar position calculator, the time of sunset was 1859:24. The sun's azimuth at the time of the accident was 267° (see figure 02) and the elevation was 0.50° (about 90 ft above the horizon).

Figure 02: Solar Position 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna

Registration: N48962
Model/Series: 152 No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Long Beach Flying Club
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan


Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions

Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KHHR, 63 ft msl
Observation Time: 0153 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 0°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 11 knots / 16 knots, 270°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Long Beach, CA (LGB)
Destination:  Long Beach, CA (LGB)

Wreckage and Impact Information


Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious

Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: On-Ground
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 33.889444, -118.240833