Monday, December 28, 2020

Beechcraft H35 Bonanza, N5474D: Accident occurred December 27, 2020 near Santa Ynez Airport (KIZA), Santa Barbara 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 Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys, California   

Location: Santa Ynez, CA
Accident Number: WPR21LA075
Date & Time: December 27, 2020, 18:12 Local 
Registration: N5474D
Aircraft: Beech 35 
Injuries: 3 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On December 27, 2020, at 1812 Pacific standard time, a Beech 35 airplane, N5474D, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Santa Ynez, California. The pilot and three passengers sustained minor injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot estimated that he departed with about 32 gallons of useable fuel. While en route to Lompoc, California, the pilot altered his course slightly to avoid inclement weather. The airplane passed one mile north of the Santa Ynez airport and when about 17 miles from Lompoc the pilot switched the fuel selector from the right main tank (which was indicating close to empty) to the left main tank (indicating slightly less than half full). As he manipulated the selector handle, the engine rpm decreased to what appeared to be idle power. Concerned that he was not able to get the handle into the detent, the pilot placed the selector back on the right tank.

The pilot elected to perform a 180-turn and land at Santa Ynez because it was closer in proximity. He attempted to troubleshoot the reduced rpm and despite his efforts, was unable to restore the engine power. The airplane could not maintain altitude and the pilot performed a forced landing short of runway 08.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech 
Registration: N5474D
Model/Series: 35 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KIZA,671 ft msl
Observation Time: 18:15 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 10°C /5°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 170°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.87 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Lake Havasu City, AZ (LPC) 
Destination: Santa Ynez, CA

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 34.6079,-120.0843 (est)

Three people and a dog aboard a small aircraft are uninjured after their plane crashed Sunday night.

Federal agencies are investigating a plane that crashed west of the Santa Ynez Airport and south of the Chumash Casino.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department received reports of an airplane that crashed in a field just after 6 p.m.

Investigators say the plane had mechanical issues before hitting the ground.

Three people and one dog were inside when the plane crashed.

Everyone, including the dog, were able to get out uninjured.

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


  1. From the ADS-B track, it looks like the pilot was descending on approach into Lompoc when they experienced an engine issue and turned back towards Santa Ynez airport to attempt to perform an emergency landing (airspeed decreased from around 145 kts to 95 kts followed by a tight 180 back to Santa Ynez). The pilot's original destination of Lompoc was confirmed by listening to the 0200-0230Z recording of Santa Barbara Approach where the pilot's radar service is terminated for an approach to land at Lompoc.
    Based on the photos, you can see a fence and part of the Chumash Casino building in the background, placing the crash site in the field just short of Santa Ynez runway 08, so the pilot almost made it.

    If you look at the entire ADS-B track for N5474D that day, it looks like the pilot flew all the way from Lompoc to Lake Havasu and then turned around to fly back to Lompoc. It seems a little strange to fly all the way to Havasu and then just turn around and come back, so I'm wondering if they experienced some sort of issue that made them want to turn around and it got worse on descent to land?

  2. Maybe the 3 hour 56 minute flight period was to pick up pax and/or pooch then turnaround. Big gap in the data at the turnaround point.

  3. Those Bonanzas are tough. But what’s with the high speed tape on the wing leading edge in pic 3?

  4. Very likely a fuel management issue.

    1. H35 (1957) G35 with a Continental O-470-G engine, strengthened structure and internal trim changes, 464 built