Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Avions Pierre Robin R-2160, N216MS: Incident occurred April 14, 2020 in Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Long Beach, California

Aircraft made an emergency landing in a riverbed near the 605 Freeway. 

Flyin Club LLC

Date: 14-APR-20
Time: 02:30:00Z
Regis#: N216MS
Aircraft Make: AVIONS ROBIN CO
Aircraft Model: R2160
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: NONE
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91

The pilot of a Avions Pierre Robin R-2160, French-built aircraft, experienced a technical malfunction while flying over Long Beach on Tuesday, April 14, and had to make an emergency landing in a concrete bed of the San Gabriel River.

The man operating the plane reported engine trouble, and managed to land the aircraft shortly before 7:40 p.m., in a portion of the channel just north of Wardlow Road, Long Beach Police Lt. Megan Zabel said. The stretch of concrete riverbed that served as a makeshift airstrip was mostly dry Tuesday evening, and is located near the 605 Freeway, where Los Alamitos, Cypress and Long Beach meet.

“We were coming in to land at Long Beach and the engine quit,” pilot Sergei Levitan said shortly after maneuvering the plane to safety. “We were just going over the river, and I realized I was too low to make it anywhere else. I figured this was the better place to land.”

Levitan called the aircraft with two seats and a red, white and blue paint job an “aerobatic plane.” He said he works for SoCal Jet Services and has been flying for about 10 years. This is the first time he has had to make an emergency landing. The pilot estimated that he may have been travelling at about 60 knots (69 mph) prior to landing, and that winds may have been light Tuesday evening.

“Well, it’s hard to say because I really didn’t have time to look around and see what conditions were,” Levitan said.

No injuries were immediately reported, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said. The plane had been occupied by Levitan and one passenger, Zabel said.

The aircraft was not damaged during the incident, Gregor said. Its was registered to Flyin Club LLC, a firm based out of Long Beach, and its flight certification is valid through September 30th, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

The emergency landing and the circumstances leading up to it were under investigation, Gregor said.

“(Even with) a little bit of water, this might still be better than landing on the streets,” Levitan said. “605? Eh, I don’t know. I didn’t want to land on a highway even though it is pretty empty right now.”

Pilot Sergei Levitan examines an aircraft shortly after landing it safely in a stretch of the San Gabriel River, near the 605 Freeway in Long Beach on April 14th. No injuries were reported, and the plane was not damaged.

04.14.2020 | 7:30 PM | LONG BEACH – A pilot safely landed into the San Gabriel riverbed after losing power, Tuesday evening.

Authorities responded to reports of an aircraft down in the San Gabriel Riverbed near Wardlow Road on the border of Los Alamitos and Long Beach around 7:30 PM.

Units arriving on scene learned that the pilot of the single-engine fixed-wing aircraft had lost power inflight and performed a successful emergency landing into the riverbed.

The pilot reported he was on approach to Long Beach Airport about four miles away but determined he was too low to safely land at the airport.

Despite recent downpours the riverbed was dry and provided a safe area for the aircraft to land.

No injuries were reported and the aircraft was not damaged.

The cause of the inflight power loss is under investigation.

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