Thursday, December 23, 2021

Cessna 172N Skyhawk, N6280F: Accident occurred December 22, 2021 near Auburn Municipal Airport (KAUN), Placer 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; Sacramento, California 

Fox Two LLC

Location: Auburn, California 
Accident Number: WPR22LA069
Date and Time: December 22, 2021, 13:05 Local 
Registration: N6280F
Aircraft: Cessna 172N
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Positioning

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N6280F
Model/Series: 172N 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot school (141)
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: KAUN, 1531 ft msl
Observation Time: 13:55 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 12°C /9°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 2700 ft AGL 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 160°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 4800 ft AGL 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.95 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Placerville, CA (KPVF) 
Destination: Auburn, CA

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 38.943167,-121.13416 (est)

AUBURN, California  — A bizarre sight in a tight little neighborhood left neighbors stunned Wednesday afternoon in Auburn. A Cessna 172N Skyhawk crashed onto a home.

“We just lost power and then immediately, there was a large boom and [we] thought a transformer that blew up or somebody hit a pole. That’s kind of the common thing,” said Norm Tucker.

”It would freak me out. It would totally freak me out,” said Joni Heinrich.

Heinrich couldn’t believe what happened at the end of her street. The plane took out some power lines, crashed through a line of trees and then landed on top of her neighbor’s home.

“We are in the flight path, so my husband’s always had nightmares about it,” said Heinrich.

“There’s plenty of planes that come this way, back and forth all the time just because of the proximity of the airport,” said Tucker.

Dispatch audio shows the confusion and chaos when the homeowner called 9-1-1 after the plane crashed onto her roof.

Dispatcher: “Crying stating that someone is in her house, and that there’s a guy in the house that needs an ambulance.”

The pilot apparently landed in her home and started calling out for help, startling the homeowner who had no idea what just happened.

“They are so fortunate in this case that the plane did not crash through the home and injure them, yes. We’re saying they are very lucky,” said Placer County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Angela Musallam.

For the nine homes on this small one lane road, Miracle Drive, the name says it all.

“Well I think it’s a miracle that nobody died. I hope that the pilot’s OK,” said Heinrich. “I’ve often said that it’s a miracle that I even live on Miracle Drive.”

The plane crashed near the Auburn Municipal Airport, but there’s no telling where the pilot was heading to or from or why the plane went down. The NTSB and FAA are both investigating.


  1. KAUN AWOS reflects changing conditions:

    KAUN 222315Z AUTO 20004KT 3/4SM BR OVC002 09/09 A2994
    ---- Crash was 23:05Z ----
    KAUN 222255Z AUTO 22006KT 5SM BR BKN024 BKN029 OVC075 10/09 A2994
    KAUN 222235Z AUTO 21004KT 10SM OVC025 12/09 A2994
    ---- Takeoff from KPVF was 22:30Z ----
    KAUN 222215Z AUTO 21004KT 9SM SCT026 SCT033 BKN050 12/10 A2995


    1. Just a note that the last portion of the ADSB-X track was derived mostly by MLAT which can be *wildly* inaccurate.

  2. 3000ft altitude and flight track are consistent with getting an IFR clearance for the RWY 07 RNAV/GPS approach into Auburn, via the CITXU initial approach fix (see ). Perhaps spatial disorientation on the final approach segment as airport quickly transitioned from VFR to low IFR conditions.

  3. "Suspicious Circumstances"? It's just a Cessna on my roof, nothing suspicious 'bout that. Now a sleigh with a bunch of reindeer? Now THAT"S suspicious!

    1. When a C337 Skymaster crashed into a home's roof near Orlando, the report after seeing the rear propeller facing outward from the attic was titled: "Airplane crashes tail first into home"

      It's always just a matter of perspective!

  4. Or maybe if not true spatial disorientation (e.g., with vertigo, loss of control) at least loss of positional awareness with respect to altitude, while peering out the windshield looking for an airport that wouldn't be seen anyway if it was already down to 3/4 mile visibility and 200 ft overcast. Approach minimums with best GPS equipment for that approach (LPV) are a 400 ft ceiling and 1-1/4 mile visibility. The track is still straight to the airport as the plane descends below the touchdown zone elevation (TDZE) of 1532. Very hard to find the runway ahead when you are already below it.

  5. This was a flight school airplane that I have flown before. It was pretty nice for a trainer/rental. There were heavy showers in the vicinity around the time of the crash. Was not really a good day to fly. Maybe OK with an experienced instructor on board. Will be interested to know what the pilot has to say as long as he or she pulls through.

  6. Loved flying 80F. The 180hp made it a nice performer. Sad, but glad he survived.

  7. Possible Somatogravic Illusion on a missed approach attempt. Pilot decides to go missed and pushes the throttle up to climb, however a enhanced sensation of pitch up is experienced due to horizontal acceleration. Many low vis accidents attributied to it.

  8. That no one died instantly in that crash is remarkable. No fire, either, which usually causes more damage/ injuries than the initial crash. Fuel starvation?

  9. I learned to fly in that plane in Tennessee back in 1997-1998.