Friday, February 19, 2021

Piper PA-32-260 Cherokee Six, N57014: Fatal accident occurred February 19, 2021 in Long Beach, 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.
Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Long Beach, California
Textron Lycoming; Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Piper; Phoenix, Arizona  

Location: Los Angeles, CA 
Accident Number: WPR21FA114
Date & Time: February 19, 2021, 11:58 Local 
Registration: N57014
Aircraft: Piper PA-32-260
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On February 19, 2021, about 1158, a Piper PA-32-206 Cherokee Six airplane, N57014, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident in Los Angeles, California. The pilot was fatally injured and a person on the ground sustained minor injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

Investigators reviewed flight track data covering the area of the accident during the time surrounding the accident using Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provided Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) data. The airplane had been assigned a discrete transponder code of 0242 by the FAA’s Southern California Terminal Radar Approach Control (SCT TRACON). The data was consistent with the airplane departing Torrance at 1146 and proceeding south-southeast along the coastline while climbing, reaching an altitude of about 3,400 ft mean sea level (msl).

The pilot was in communication with SCT air traffic controllers during the flight receiving visual flight rules (VFR) flight following. At 1155:29, the pilot reported to the SCT Harbor radar controller that he was experiencing engine problems. After the controller queried about the nature of the problem, at 1156:30 the pilot stated, “I have an engine wobble; no RPM’s.” About 20 seconds later, the pilot added, “I think I have to make an off-airport landing.” Several seconds later he transmitted his final communication that the Long Beach harbor appeared to be the best place to land and that “I am going to see if I can make it.” The radar indicated that the airplane proceeded toward Terminal Island and aligned for an emergency landing to a paved area (see Figure 1). 

Figure 1: Accident Flight Path (showing where pertinent communications were made)

Video footage was obtained from numerous security cameras at the terminal. A review of the footage revealed that the airplane descended configured in a relatively flat pitch attitude (see Figure 2). The left wing collided with a semi-truck followed by the airplane impacting a concrete barrier in a left-wing low attitude. The airplane rotated over itself in a cartwheel type motion and came to rest upright (see Figure 3).

Figure 2: Security Camera Footage (compilation prior to impact)

Figure 3: Security Camera Footage (by frame)

As part of the preliminary postaccident examination, investigators removed the cylinders’ sparkplugs; several were mechanically damaged. Removal of the rocker box valve covers revealed that the exhaust rotator cap on the No. 2 cylinder was loosely laying in the cover. The exhaust valve springs on the No. 6 cylinder were displaced and protruded out at an angle with the rocker arm contacting the upper valve spring seat (retainer); the No. 6 exhaust pushrod was bent. Removal of the No. 4 cylinder revealed that the piston head had numerous gouges consistent with impact with metal inside the barrel. Removal of the No. 6 cylinder revealed that the piston had separated from the connecting rod was lodged in the cylinder barrel (see Figure 4). Investigators removed what remained of the severely damaged piston, revealing that the exhaust valve head was embedded in the barrel head adjacent to the valve seat. The exhaust valve stem and keepers were not located. Numerous pieces of metal were found throughout the crankcase and over a pint of metal pieces were recovered from the oil sump.
Page 4 of 5 WPR21FA114

Figure 4: No. 6 Cylinder Piston and Barrel (showing exhaust head)

The engine monitoring device and serval cylinders were retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N57014
Model/Series: PA-32-260
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: KTOA,90 ft msl 
Observation Time: 11:47 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C /2°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots / , 270°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.22 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Torrance, CA (TOA)
Destination: Los Angeles, CA 
Page 5 of 5 WPR21FA114

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: Fire at unknown time
Ground Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Minor 
Latitude, Longitude: 33.724105,-118.25217 (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

An investigation was scheduled to get underway Saturday into the crash of a single-engine plane into a cargo container yard at the Port of Los Angeles that killed the pilot and seriously injured a man on the ground. 

The pilot was later identified as Larry Edward Voit, according to the coroner's office. 

The crash occurred about noon Friday in the 2500 block of South Navy Way, the Los Angeles Fire Department reported. The plane, a Piper PA-32, struck a tractor-trailer on its way down. 

A passing driver pulled the pilot's body from the wreckage in an attempt to save him, but it was too late, officials said.

"There was a heroic truck driver that stopped his vehicle, got out and started doing CPR on the pilot," David Ortiz of the LAFD said.

It was not immediately clear what led to the crash.

The FAA confirms only the pilot was aboard the plane.

"This incident is in an isolated area of the Port of L.A. and port operations have not been impacted,'' Margaret Stewart of the LAFD said.

The man on the ground who was injured was 30 years old. The age and identity of the pilot was not immediately available.

The NTSB says the plane left Zamperini Field in Torrance about 45 minutes before the crash.

The crash will be investigated by the Federal Aviation Authority and the National Transportation Safety Board, according to an FAA spokesman.

A single-engine plane crashed into a big rig Friday afternoon on Terminal Island in San Pedro, killing the pilot and injuring a man in the truck, authorities said.

The approximately 30-year-old man in the tractor trailer was seriously injured and was taken to the hospital, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. Bystanders pulled the pilot from the wreckage and provided CPR until first responders arrived, fire officials said. He was declared dead at the scene.

The Piper PA-32-260 Cherokee Six departed from Zamperini Field in Torrance at 11:47 a.m., National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Peter Knudson said. It was not immediately clear where the aircraft was headed when it crashed shortly before 12:30 p.m.

Firefighters stopped the spread of fuel on the ground around the aircraft, the LAFD said. The crash occurred at the APM Terminals in the port of San Pedro.

LOS ANGELES, California (CBSLA) — At least one person was killed after a single-engine plane crashed into a big rig in San Pedro.

The crash involving a single engine plane and a semi-tractor trailer truck was reported at about noon in the 2500 block of South Navy Way, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

One man, the pilot, was declared dead at the scene. Fire officials say bystanders had pulled the pilot from the wreckage and tried to give him CPR until firefighters arrived.

Another man about 30 years old, who was in the truck, was taken to the hospital in grave condition.

The crash also leaked a small amount fuel on the ground, but was secured from further spread, fire officials said.

The crash happened in what fire officials described as an isolated area of the Port of Los Angeles. Port operations have not been affected.

SAN PEDRO, California (KABC) -- A small airplane crashed into a semi-truck at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro harbor on Friday afternoon, leaving one person dead and another hospitalized in at least serious condition, authorities said.

The incident involving the single-engine aircraft occurred about 12 p.m. in the 2500 block of Navy Way, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The pilot was pronounced dead at the scene, the LAFD said. That person's identity and details about the survivor were not immediately disclosed.

News video from the scene showed the wreckage of the fixed-wing aircraft near the damaged semi-truck, which did not have a trailer attached.

Authorities described the location as an isolated area of the port, adding that port operations were not affected.

The cause of the crash was unknown.

One person has died and another one is severely injured after a single engine airplane crashed into a semi-truck in San Pedro Friday afternoon, officials said.

The incident was reported around 12 p.m. by the Los Angeles Fire Department regarding a trapped vehicle and two patients, with one of them in serious condition.

At least one person was on board the plane and was “sadly beyond medical help and determined to be deceased on scene,” LAFD said in an update later.

The occupant of the semi-truck was described to be in “at least” serious condition was being transported to a hospital for treatment, LAFD said.

Authorities have not released any details about the deceased individual or the injured patient.

A small amount of fuel that the plane spilled on the ground has been secured by firefighters to prevent from further spreading.

The National Transportation Safety Board has been notified of the incident and will be involved in the investigation. 


  1. Sad end to what looks like an emergency landing and coming up short of his intended landing site just a few feet further to train tracks and relatively clear lot.

  2. This quote from the above KTLA news story offers a possible insight into the cause of this crash:

    "A small amount of fuel that the plane spilled on the ground has been secured by firefighters to prevent from further spreading."

    Possible fuel exhaustion?

    That's an excellent B-roll video, shown above, apparently taken from the Fox5 News helicopter. Towards the end of the video, the propeller of the crashed airplane is clearly shown with one blade of the three-bladed prop sticking straight up and showing little damage. It looks like the pilot came very close to making it to an empty container truck staging area that appeared large enough for a relatively safe landing. As they say: "So near, yet so far".

    A real tragedy. R.I.P.

  3. Flight track: (click "K" tab to see speeds/altitude)

  4. Dropped exhaust valve on #6. Unfortunate circumstances for pilot and driver on the pier.

  5. I have an Arrow and it swallowed a valve during flight, an upper exhaust valve spring seat broke out. Engine kept running though and it was obviously very rough, the piston remained attached to the rod. Apparently this is not terribly unusual with Lycoming engines, I am an A&P and IA but certainly far from knowing it all but I don’t understand how swallowing a valve can cause total engine failure.