Sunday, August 16, 2020

Piper PA-14 Family Cruiser, N91449: Fatal accident occurred August 15, 2020 at Susanville Municipal Airport (KSVE), Lassen County, California

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; Reno
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Location: Susanville, CA
Accident Number: WPR20LA270
Date & Time: 08/15/2020, 1340 PDT
Registration: N91449
Aircraft: Piper PA 14
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On August 15, 2020, about 1340 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-14 airplane, N91449, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident at Susanville, California. The pilot and pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to a friend of the pilot who also witnessed the accident, the pilot, pilot-rated passenger, and him had planned to fly over a landmark in the Nevada desert and then stay overnight in a campground north of Susanville. The friend was in his own airplane, while the pilot and passenger were in the accident airplane. They departed Redding, California about 0930 and flew east, but during cruise flight they chose to discontinue the flyover and make an intermediate stop at Susanville Municipal Airport (SVE), Susanville, California. The friend landed on the airport's only asphalt runway and the accident pilot landed on the dirt runway. After lunch they returned to the airport and boarded their airplanes. The accident airplane's takeoff was not observed. While the witness was taxiing to the asphalt runway, he witnessed the accident airplane about 350 ft above ground level about midfield in a steep left bank angle. The airplane immediately transitioned into a nose down pitch attitude and descended rapidly toward the ground. The friend, a flight instructor, stated that the sequence resembled an aerodynamic stall/spin.

The wreckage came to rest in dirt about 50 ft southwest of runway 11/29 on an eastern heading. (See figure 1) All major structural surfaces were accounted for at the accident site. The initial impact point was marked by left wing navigation light fragments that were in a small dirt impression a few feet north of the main wreckage. The nose and cabin were crushed aft and the propeller blades had separated from the propeller hub. Both wings were deformed, but remained attached to the fuselage. The left wing displayed an upward bend about midspan and the right wing displayed a slight upward bend at the wing root. The tail section remained attached to the airplane and was unremarkable.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Figure 1: Diagram of departure runway and main wreckage location on airport.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N91449
Model/Series: PA 14 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: , 4949 ft msl
Observation Time: 1335 PDT
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point: 33°C / 6°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 12000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 50°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.15 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan File:
Departure Point:  Redding, CA (RDD)
Destination: Susanville, CA (1Q2)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 40.376667, -120.573056

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

Krista Holstrom and Kevin Fore taking a photo in front of an Air Shasta helicopter at the Redding Airport.

Couple Kevin Fore and Krista Holstrom (in the middle) in front of their Piper PA-14 that went down on August 15th.

LASSEN COUNTY, California — A Redding couple was killed after their plane went down in Lassen County on their way back to Redding Saturday.

Family members have identified the fallen pilots as Redding couple, 45-year-old Kevin Fore along with 35-year-old Krista Holstrom.

The couple apparently took off for a day trip from the Redding Airport on August 15th, to Susanville to have lunch with family in the area. They were headed back towards Redding, stopping in Eagle Lake, when their plane went down.

According to a witness the couple was flying about 600 ft. in the air when the engine stalled. The left wing apparently dipped towards the ground and the plane spiraled down.

Fore and Holstrom are both well-experienced pilots and had made this trip several times. They were flying in their Alaskan bush plane when the crash happened.

Witness statements stated the two were killed on impact.

The aviation community lost two well-respected pilots according to friends and fellow pilots.

Holstrom was a flight instructor at the IASCO Flight Training School and a member of the 'Whirly Girls' (International women helicopter pilots).

Fore is owner of Palo Cedro Heating and Air Conditioning in Shasta County.


  1. Kevin, Krista... We are going to miss you guys. You were the first couple we met at the airport. Sundays will never be the same. Kevin told me about kathryns report, I never thought I would be here reading about you.

    1. Very sorry for you and for their families and friends in the community. If this turns out to be another stall/spin as suggested in the account despite the experienced pilots onboard, this issue truly needs to be elevated to a national insistence on corrective training for the GA community so that it doesn't keep happening to other families and friends in the future.

    2. Looking at the KSVE airport layout, crashing "in a dirt patch between two paved runways" describes a location between paved runway 11/29 and its parallel paved taxiway.

      A pilot would not have to make a 180 degree "impossible turn" for a landing attempt on runway 29 after taking off on dirt runway 7 if power loss occurred before crossing runway 11/29.

      Landing a bush plane with big turf tires on the farm fields straight ahead is an option if power loss occurred after crossing runway 11/29, but you would have to suppress the urge to turn back.

    3. Did they depart on Runway 07 - the dirt runway?

      Where did the aircraft come to rest?

      I think if it was a loss of power that Kevin would have enjoyed an off field landing straight ahead. Plus the motor had 100 hours at most.

      How steeply did they climb out? Believe there was an eye witness ... was it a normal departure or were they climbing extra steeply?

      While it will be good to get answers, still sad to lose Kevin after knowing him so many years ...

    4. The investigation will tell ( hopefully ) but that is a possibility also , steep climbout , sudden engine failure , no time and/or speed left to quickly push the nose down resulting in this crash , tragic....

    5. Another risk factor during steep climbout is the loss of propeller wash across the tail surfaces when the engine stops. Poor elevator response in the diminished airflow that remains decreases the chance of recovery.

  2. “At about 12:55 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center received a 911 call of a plane crash at the Susanville Airport. Lassen County Sheriff’s deputies, Susanville Police officers, Susan River Fire, CCC/HDSP Fire and medical units responded,” read the statement.

    “Upon arrival, they located a small, single engine Piper PA 14 airplane with severe damage in a dirt patch between two paved runways. Inside the cockpit were two occupants, a male and a female. They were identified as Kevin Fore, 45, of Redding, California, and Krista Holstrom, 35, of Grants Pass, Oregon.

    “Tragically, they were both pronounced deceased on scene. A witness to the crash stated the plane took off from a dirt runway and was approximately 400-500 feet in the air when it took a sharp left turn and crashed into the ground. Authorities from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Avionics Administration (FAA) were contacted and later arrived on scene to conduct their preliminary investigation.

    “The Lassen County Sheriff’s Office would like to offer sincerest condolences to the families and friends of the deceased,” read the statement. @

  3. Krista came to my hangar at 3s8 to see my Ercoupe. She told me she had a bar made from an Ercoupe tail in her hangar. They were just up here a month ago and stopped by. Very sad. Goodbye Whirlygirl.

  4. Kevin was a long time friend of mine in which we’d call each other on a weekly basis. I will forever miss our calls hearing your laugh and your voice. Krista always shared the Love of flying with him. He would always tell me that she enjoyed aviation as much as he did. Still can’t believe they aren’t here with us anymore. Love You Forever, Larry & Erica Freeman