Friday, May 22, 2020

Cirrus SR20, N883PJ: Fatal accident occurred May 20, 2020 in Santa Maria, California

2 months ago
"Today is a BIG Day for General Aviation! I flew my first solo flight. Even the 883 Papa Juliet has a mask on."

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys, California
Cirrus Aircraft; Duluth, Minnesota
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

Location: Santa Maria, CA
Accident Number: WPR20LA152
Date & Time: 05/20/2020, 1043 PDT
Registration: N883PJ
Aircraft: Cirrus SR20
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On May 20, 2020, about 1043 Pacific daylight time, a Cirrus SR20 airplane, N883PJ, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Santa Maria, California. The student pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 solo cross country flight.

There were several witnesses who observed the airplane prior to the accident. A witness reported that the airplane was flying lower than normal. He observed the airplane oscillate, followed by an engine power increased and then the airplane straightened out. Shortly thereafter, the power decreased, and it started to oscillate as it went out of view. Another witness observed the airplane with it's wings perpendicular to the ground as it descended out of view. And a third witness said his attention was drawn to the airplane when he heard a "loud hissing sound," which sounded like a "large bottle rocket." He looked up and saw the airplane abruptly turn left and descend like a corkscrew.

The student pilot's flight instructor reported that he has been in flight training since September 2019, and had accumulated about 50 flight hours. The accident flight was the student pilot's third solo flight, and second cross country. They had flown the same route as the accident flight at least twice together, and the student pilot flew it once on his own about one week prior to the accident.

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

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cirrus
Registration: N883PJ
Model/Series: SR20 No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: SMX, 261 ft msl
Observation Time: 1051 PDT
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 9°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / 15 knots, 290°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.12 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Departure Point: Van Nuys, CA (VNY)
Destination: Santa Maria, CA (SMX)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 34.893056, -120.454722 (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 

Dr. Tigran Garabedyan
June 27, 1981 – May 20, 2020
6 months ago
"More practice! Gotta get it VFR to Van Nuys. 883 Papa Juliet, Cirrus Aircraft" 

4 months ago 
"883 PapaJuliet back in action, soaring above the fluffy clouds!"

5 months ago
"Night flying cross country to Riverside and back. Encore Flight Academy"

7 months ago
"This is starting to get a bit technical ... climbs, descends, stall maneuvers, ground reference maneuvers. Really fun though!"

8 months ago
"Here we go first flight, Encore Flight Academy, 2 takeoffs 2 landings, beat one way to beat the 101 traffic."

ORCUTT, California  - The NewsChannel has confirmed through Federal Aviation Administration records that Tigran Garabedyan, who died in a plane crash Wednesday morning, was certified as a student-pilot on November 7th, 2019.

The 38-year old from Burbank took off from Van Nuys Airport around 9:45 Wednesday morning and flew about 133 miles to the Santa Maria area before crashing near the playground at Ralph Dunlap Elementary School in Orcutt about 10:45 a.m.

No children were present as the campus is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and stay at home order.

Federal Aviation Administration records also indicate Garabedyan's student-pilot certification prohibited him from carrying any passengers. Authorities confirmed he was the only person onboard the Cirrus Aircraft when it crashed.

Social media postings made by Garabedyan show the Cirrus Aircraft parked at Van Nuys airport. In one of the last postings made just two months ago, Garabedyan wrote, "Today is a BIG Day for General Aviation! I flew my first solo flight. Even the 883PapaJuliet has a mask on."

Federal Aviation Administration records also indicate the Cirrus Aircraft Garabedyan was flying is registered to a company called West by Southwest Investments LLC in Newport Beach. The NewsChannel has not been able to confirm Garabedyan's connection to that company.

The Cirrus Aircraft is a technologically advanced airplane. It comes equipped with a built-in Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) which is designed to deploy during an emergency and avoid a fatal crash. The parachute is manually released by the pilot and must be deployed within the certified speed and altitude parameters.

Video of Wednesday's crash appeared to show Garabedyan tried to deploy the parachute. The parachute can be seen in the video trailing behind the plane as it nose dived onto the school playground and exploded. Photos of the crash site also show yellow straps wrapped around the tail section and a parachute on the ground near where the plane made impact.

Garabedyan was married with two young children. 

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.