Sunday, October 31, 2021

Antonov An-2T, N857PF: Accident occurred October 14, 2021 near Alta Mesa Airpark (3CN7), Wilton, Sacramento 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; Fresno, California

Location: Wilton, California 
Accident Number: WPR22LA015
Date and Time: October 14, 2021, 16:00 Local
Registration: N857PF
Injuries: 2 Serious, 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On October 14, 2021 at 1600 Pacific daylight time, a WSK Mielec AN-2TD, N857PF, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Wilton, California. The pilot and one passenger sustained serious injuries and the other two passengers sustained minor injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot stated that he configured the airplane for takeoff and had flaps down and the elevator trim was neutral. The departure started normally and after becoming airborne, the airplane controls were not responding to his inputs as expected. The airplane continued to pitch up in a nose-high attitude and he was unable to push the control yoke forward which he described as feeling like he was “stretching” cables with forward pressure. The pilot set the electric trim to full nose-down and it made no effect. With the airplane’s pitch uncontrollable, he saw an open area and elected to make a rapid maneuver toward the area. He added full left rudder and aileron and the airplane banked left. The airplane descended into trees and after coming to a stop, a fire erupted. The back door would not open due the deformation of the airframe and they broke a front window. The pilot and passengers all climbed out the window and the airplane continued to burn.

There were two witnesses located at the airport that took videos of the airplane departing. One video showed the airplane just prior to the takeoff roll. The tailwheel is positioned backward and as the airplane starts the roll, the tailwheel swivel and the airplane moves to the right of the runway.

The airplane then veered to the left of the runway and became airborne shortly thereafter. In the approximate 10 seconds that followed, the airplane pitched up at an increasingly higher and higher angle-of-attack. The airplane then made a sharp left turn and goes behind the tress as it descends.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: WSK-MIELEC
Registration: N857PF
Model/Series: AN-2TD 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
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: KSAC,25 ft msl 
Observation Time: 15:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 25°C /-3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 11 knots / , 330°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Wilton, CA 
Destination: Reno, NV

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: Unknown
Total Injuries: 2 Serious, 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 38.38192,-121.22357

Four family members injured in a fiery plane crash in Wilton on Oct. 14 are expected to make a good recovery, according to reports from family members and friends. A dog didn’t survive.

The crash was reported at 4:18 p.m. near the corner of Alta Mesa and Blake roads. The plane took off from the Alta Mesa Airpark runway when it came down in the front yard of an Alta Mesa Road home and caught fire. The occupants who crawled out of the wreckage were helped by a passerby with a fire extinguisher. He and others tended to the injured until first responders arrived.

Wilton Fire District Chief Jeff Cookson said it was a miracle that anyone survived the crash.

“The pilot did a great job avoiding homes and power lines when he went down,” he said. “This could have been so much worse.”

A CBS 13 report identified the survivors as pilot Oren Breedlove, his pregnant wife, and two nephews, ages 13 and 17.

Breedlove was most seriously injured – he was crawling through flames when the first passerby, Steven Scharf, sprayed him with the fire extinguisher. The others also were burned.

One of Breedlove’s pilot friends contacted Scharf over Facebook the following day and reported everyone was going to survive and would be all right. Although the wife was four months pregnant, the baby will be okay. Surgery on Breedlove’s leg also had gone well, Scharf was told.

When the River Valley Times checked Breedlove’s condition at UC Davis on Oct. 17, a supervisor said he in fair condition.

Scharf was told Breedlove was very well-known in the aviation field. An online search showed that he is a managing partner in a Sacramento helicopter firm and conducts check point exams for students seeking pilot licenses. Scharf heard someone say that Breedlove probably trained the Reach air ambulance pilot who transported him to UC Davis.

Scharf, who works for Hedman Water Well Services, was driving on Alta Mesa Road on his way to a service call when he saw the airplane take off. But he realized it didn’t look right. Trees blocked his view as he slowed down. Then he “was literally side by side with plane” as it came through the pasture and crashed. He didn’t see anyone but he heard screaming.

After grabbing his fire extinguisher and running across the street, Scharf saw the teens getting out and the woman against the fence. He asked her how many, and she said four.

“They were looking at the plane and yelling for ‘Oren’”.

Then he saw Breedlove crawling through the flames with a broken leg. Scharf doused the flames with his extinguisher and directed him to roll down the hill to get as far away as possible. Massive flames engulfed the plane moments later.

Scharf focused on the pilot as he was in the worst condition. More people stopped to help. At one point, Scharf retrieved his ice chest from his truck and as he came back used his camera to video capture the burning plane. Scharf estimated that the first fire truck didn’t arrive for 10 to 15 minutes.

Scharf doesn’t remember what he was thinking after he jumped out of his truck except, “I was there to make sure nobody was dying.”

WFD Capt. Edward Dwyer was the incident commander. As he and Engine 81 were leaving the station for an aircraft down report, they could see a black plume of smoke and heard a second dispatch of a vegetation fire. Knowing WFD didn’t have enough foam to put out a commercial transport aircraft fire, he asked that five engines with foam capacity be dispatched and requested a red flag vegetation response.

Dwyer sized up the situation upon arrival. To the left were the injured patients, three along the road and the most seriously injured on the other side of the fence. In the center was the burning aircraft, and to the right was a small working grass fire. He directed two firefighters to initiate a fire attack, and the third to care for patients, who were already being helped by about 20 bystanders.

“To see citizens providing that kind of care - it is just an incredible sight,” Dwyer said. “And a much-appreciated sight.”

Despite the seeming chaos, it was a static incident.

“Although it wasn’t going to get worse, we needed a large volume of personnel to affect resolution of the incident,” he said.

That meant Dwyer was constantly on radio or meeting face-to-face to make assignments as a multitude of engines and command officers responded from the Herald, Cosumnes, and Sacramento Metropolitan fire agencies.

Dwyer canceled the red flag response, and Herald Fire Protection District quickly extinguished the vegetation fire. WFD water tender 84 arrived equipped with a new monitor that produces a large volume of foam and water. A Cosumnes fire engine also used foam to prevent any flare-up from the plane. Firefighters later built dykes to keep hazardous materials from reaching the road.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the accident.

WILTON, California  — More details are coming in on what happened shortly after a plane crash-landed in Wilton.

Neighbors tell KCRA 3 the pilot and the pregnant woman on board are a family and local to the area. Two boys were also on the aircraft.

"This huge plume of smoke came up and I knew something horrible had happened," said 21-year-old Virginia Rose, who grew up in the area. "It was terrifying in the moment because seeing people fly out here my whole life, I’ve never had anything like this happen."

Rose immediately called 911 and stayed on scene to make sure the family got safely to the hospital.

"Two of them were still on fire when they came out of the aircraft," she said. "It's definitely an image that's going to stick with me for a while."

It turns out the airplane involved in the crash, an AN-2, is incredibly rare. The historic planes were built for hauling freight in the Soviet Union after World War 2.

"If you don't have the proper training and you just hop into something like this, you could get into trouble," said Alan Casner, owner of Ride in the Past, a vintage airplane repair shop.

The crashed plane was one of under a dozen registered AN-2s in the entire United States.

"It's a flying truck," Casner said. "They are very stout. The fact those people got out of the airplane, says a lot to the construction of the airplane."

Casner said the AN-2 is a sizable plane, with a 60-foot-wingspan, 1,000 horsepower and the ability to carry over 5,000 pounds.

"Hopefully the person flying it got the instructions necessary or the learning to fly the thing," Casner said.

Neighbors expressed well-wishes to the survivors of the violent crash. All of the victims are expected to survive.

"I hope you guys recover quickly," Rose said. "I'm sorry this had to happen to you guys. I'm so glad you're going to be OK."

KCRA 3 reached out to the FAA and the NTSB for more on what could have caused this crash. Representatives said they are still investigating.

WILTON, California – Four people have suffered major injuries after their plane crashed in the Sacramento County town of Wilton.

The incident happened in the area of Alta Mesa and Blake roads, east of Elk Grove. The plane was reportedly a small cargo plane. Four people—a man, a pregnant woman and two teens—were badly injured in the crash. They were initially said to be in critical condition but are all expected to recover, according to the Sacramento Metro Fire Department.

One of the first people to witness the crash stopped their truck, got out a fire extinguisher, and helped the passengers to safety.

Steve Scharf jumped into action with a fire extinguisher to find the four survivors badly burned.

Scharf says the two teenagers and a pregnant woman were already out of the plane. He saw the man trying to escape.

“And then the guy that was life-flighted. I saw him like army-crawling out of the flames because his leg was broken,” Scharf said. “So I stopped him and had him just roll away, and sprayed him with my fire extinguisher.”

Scharf added, “The only thing that was going through my head is I wanted these people to be safe, and I wanted them to be alive, and I couldn’t sleep tonight if I watched a man burn right in front of me.”

CBS13 obtained cell phone video showing the small plane take off from a Wilton airstrip then fall out of frame before crashing beyond a roofline. You can hear the plane hitting trees

An FAA spokesperson says they currently don’t know the make or model of the plane. The NTSB and FAA will be investigating what happened.

The Sacramento Metro Fire Department Captain Parker Wilbourn says one victim was life-flighted out of the crash scene.

Three others were taken by ground ambulance with minor to moderate injuries with burns on their hands and arms.


  1. Replies
    1. That is my suspicion also. Explains what happened. Normally the gust lock is in the way of the pilot in his seat but I wonder if it can be set up different ways. What the pilot is describing is exactly what you would expect.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.