Saturday, April 24, 2021

Lake LA-4-200 Buccaneer, N2989P: Accident occurred April 21, 2021 near Twentynine Palms Airport (KTNP), San Bernardino 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.

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Riverside, California

Ejh Teton Properties LLC

Location: Twentynine Palms, CA 
Accident Number: WPR21LA171
Date & Time: April 21, 2021, 14:10 Local 
Registration: N2989P
INC. LAKE LA-4-200
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On April 21, 2021 about 1410 Pacific daylight time, a Consolidated Aeronautics Inc., Lake LA-4-200, N2989P, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Twentynine Palms, California. The pilot, the sole occupant, sustained minor injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot stated that he had recently purchased the airplane and had undergone training in the same make and model. The purpose of the flight was for the pilot to transport the airplane from the seller’s location in Novato, California to his base airport in Texas. On the morning of the accident, the pilot departed about 0800, made a fuel stop, and departed again before landing in Twentynine Palms around 1330. He filled the fuel tanks to their maximum capacity and began the departure from runway 26. The airplane climbed to about 200 feet above ground level (agl), at which point the engine experienced a partial loss of power and was unable to maintain altitude. The airplane began to vibrate and the pilot could audibly detect a loud chatter noise emitting from the engine area. He noted that the manifold pressure gauge appeared normal and the (digital) tachometer displayed fluctuating rpms. The pilot verified the auxiliary boost pump was selected to the “on” position and retracted the flaps in attempt to prolong the time the airplane was able to stay airborne.

The pilot further stated that he was unable to maintain altitude and after determining that he would not be able to make it back to the airport, he elected to land on a road. As he approached the road, he overserved powerlines near road and decided to touchdown on the adjacent desert terrain. During the emergency landing, the airplane collided with a sign and the airplane nosed over, coming to rest inverted.

The pilot noted that the airplane had undergone an annual inspection on March 1, 2021, equating to about 10 flight hours prior to the accident. The engine was retained for further investigation. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N2989P
Model/Series: LAKE LA-4-200 
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: KNXP,2051 ft msl
Observation Time: 13:56 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 13 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C /-2°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / 19 knots, 280°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 9 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.78 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Departure Point: Twentynine Palms, CA 
Destination: Glendale, AZ (KGEU)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 34.136313,-115.98359 (est)

TWENTYNINE PALMS, California  — One person, pilot, Donald Richie, 67, of Cedar Park, Texas, was reported injured in the wake of a plane crash near Twentynine Palms Airport Wednesday afternoon, April 21.

The crash, on Twentynine Palms Highway at Mojave Road east of the airport, was first reported at about 3:13 p.m.

The reporting party said the plane, flying low, got caught in the wind, the nose dropped and the plane hit the ground. The pilot, the only person in the plane, was said to have a gash on his head and was transported by ambulance to Desert Regional Medical Center as a precaution.

Deputies discovered a blue and white airplane had crashed in the dirt lot southeast of the intersection of Mojave Road and the highway, approximately two miles west of the Twentynine Palms Airport.

According to Richie, he was flying the airplane from Petaluma to Texas. He had stopped for fuel at the Twentynine Palms Airport. After taking off from the Twentynine Palms Airport, the aircraft could not gain more than approximately 200 feet in altitude prior to the crash.

Richie was unable to gain much more altitude and realized he needed to return to the Airport.  Richie was going to attempt to land on the highway but observed power lines north of the roadway. He decided to attempt an emergency landing in the dirt field southeast of the intersection. The airplane struck a stop sign and other business signs near the intersection. The plane came to rest upside down, and Richie got himself out of the aircraft prior to the deputies arrival.

Richie sustained minor injuries and was transported to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palms Springs as a precaution. It does not appear alcohol or drugs were a factor in this crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Administration (NTSB) were both advised of the crash but did not respond to the scene.

Anyone with information related to the investigation is asked to contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

Morongo Basin Station at (760) 366-4175.  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may contact We-Tip at 1-888-78-CRIME.

The FAA and NTSB were advised and the plane was recovered by Bailey’s Towing.

According to, the plane took off from Visalia Municipal Airport at 11:25 a.m. and landed at 29 Palms Airport at 1:39 p.m.

The fixed wing, single-engine plane can seat four people. It is owned by EJH Teton Properties LLC of Petaluma.

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