Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Mooney M-20J, N4474H: Fatal accident occurred July 15, 2021 and Incident occurred January 26, 2021

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 traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Alameda, California  
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Oakland, California

Location: Dinsmore, CA
Accident Number: WPR21FA272
Date & Time: July 15, 2021, 11:54 Local 
Registration: N4474H
Aircraft: Mooney M20J 
Injuries: 4 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On July 15, 2021, at 1154 Pacific daylight time, a Mooney M20J airplane, N4474H, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Dinsmore, California. The pilot, the pilot-rated passenger and two other passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

Review of radar data revealed that the flight originated from Fullerton Municipal Airport (FUL), Fullerton, California at 0700. According to a family member, the pilot and the pilot-rated passenger departed for Perris Valley Airport (L65), Perris, California to pick up two rear passengers who were interested in purchasing a land parcel in Humboldt County, California. About 0730, the flight departed L65 northwest bound and climbed to a cruise altitude between 6,500 and 7,000 ft above ground level. Ground speed averaged about 130-140 kts for the first half of the flight, slowly increasing to between 140-160 kts later. Track data was lost about 1110 about 4-5 nm southeast of Dinsmore Airport (D63), Dinsmore, California.

A witness, located 0.25 miles east from the departure end of runway 09 at D63, observed the accident airplane circling the area around the airport twice before it landed on runway 27 (witness reported winds from the west). He then observed the airplane taxi down runway 09 before it had made a complete stop mid-runway and three individuals disembarked. When all three individuals boarded the airplane again, the pilot taxied towards the arrival end of runway 09. The airplane accelerated down the runway 09; the pilot rotated just short of the displaced threshold and according to the witness, barely cleared the fence. The rotation was not smooth, and it appeared as the pilot suddenly pulled the nose up (“jerked it”).

A video from a security camera located 300 ft east of the departure end of runway 09 revealed that the airplane took off towards the east. The wreckage was located about 1,600 ft beyond the departure end of runway 09 on a heading of 126°. Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane’s right wing impacted a tall redwood tree. Upon impact, the right wing separated and fell on the ground underneath the tree. The airplane came to rest inverted about 120 ft and, on the heading of 170°, from the first point of impact.

The wreckage was secured for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Mooney
Registration: N4474H
Model/Series: M20J
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
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: KFOT,391 ft msl 
Observation Time: 11:35 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 25 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 12°C /12°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 300°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 500 ft AGL
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.06 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Perris, CA (L65)
Destination: Dinsmore, CA

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 3 Fatal 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: Unknown
Total Injuries: 4 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 40.492028,-123.59822 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290.
Henry Punt

DINSMORE, California — 

UPDATE [Friday, July 16]

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has recovered the remains of four individuals from the site of a small airplane crash Thursday, July 15, near Dinsmore.

The decedents have been identified as:

Henry Punt, age 69, of Los Angeles County;
Steve Sanz, age 63, of Orange County;
Jacquie Ann Figg, age 56, of San Bernardino County;
Kenneth John Malinowski, age 62, of Sacramento County.

No additional occupants are believed to be outstanding at this time., according to officials. The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.

"The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office sends our deepest condolences to the families of those lost in this tragic accident," they wrote in a press release Friday.

During their initial response and investigation, Sheriff’s deputies learned of many heroic acts taken by witnesses and nearby community members in an attempt to provide assistance to the victims and prevent the progression of the associated fire.

"These actions of great bravery have not gone unnoticed and likely saved many additional lives and property by averting a potential wildfire," the HCSO said. "The Sheriff’s Office is grateful for the partnership of local organizations and our community, who continue to answer the call to serve their fellow community members in the greatest time of need."

Further investigation of this incident will be conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.

UPDATE [Thursday, July 15]

The following is a press release with an update from the Humboldt County Sheriff's office:

On July 15, 2021, at about 11:54 a.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the Dinsmore Airport for the report of a small aircraft accident.

According to the reporting party, the aircraft, a fixed wing single engine plane, crashed near the airport and subsequently caught on fire. Fire personnel responded to the scene and extinguished the fire, preventing spread into the nearby wooded area.

No survivors have been located as of Thursday afternoon. Multiple fatalities are believed to have occurred, however, due to the state of the wreckage and continued investigation, the number of victims cannot be confirmed at this time.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is working in partnership with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate this incident. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office, CAL FIRE, US Forest Service, California Highway Patrol, Cal Trans, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration for their assistance and collaborative response.

More information related to this investigation will be released when available and appropriate.

Anyone with information related to this case is encouraged to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251.

The aircraft, a fixed-wing single-engine plane, crashed near the airport and subsequently caught on fire.

ORIGINAL [Thursday, July 15]

Multiple people are believed to be dead after a plane crashed near the Dinsmore Airport on Thursday, according to the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office.

The HCSO says it received reports just before noon that deputies were responding to the airport for reports of a small airplane crash.

In an update this afternoon, the sheriff's office said no survivors had been located and, "multiple fatalities are believed to have occurred." However, due to the wreckage, the HCSO says it is unable to confirm the number of victims in the crash at this time.

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

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

January 26, 2021: Aircraft aborted takeoff and struck a runway light at Fullerton Municipal Airport (KFUL), Orange County, California.

Date: 26-JAN-21
Time: 19:55:00Z
Regis#: N4474H
Aircraft Make: MOONEY
Aircraft Model: M20J
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
Operation: 91

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