Sunday, March 06, 2022

Mooney M20K 231, N777WP: Fatal accident occurred March 13, 2020 in Sylmar, Los Angeles County, California

LOS ANGELES, California - The widow and daughter of a passenger who was killed in a small plane crash in Newhall in 2020 are suing the estate of the pilot and the estate's representative. 

Gina Solis brought the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit on behalf of herself and her 10-year-old daughter on Thursday against the estate of John Russell Calvert and the estate's representative, Gregory Michael Calvert. The suit alleges negligence and both strict and negligent products liability.  

The Solises are the wife and daughter of the late 36-year-old Kevin Solis of Fontana, who was the only passenger onboard the plane flown by the 77-year-old Calvert, a Valencia resident.  

Calvert "negligently, carelessly, recklessly, unskillfully ... maintained, operated, controlled and flew (the plane) so as to proximately cause the (aircraft) to crash thereby causing the death of Kevin Solis," the suit states.  

Solis was unaware of any defects in the plane before the crash, the suit states.  

A representative for the Calvert estate could not be reached.  

The crash occurred near the Sunshine Canyon Landfill at about 1:50 p.m. March 13, 2020. The Mooney M20K left Southwest Oregon Regional Airport in North Bend, Oregon, earlier that day and vanished from radar while inbound to Van Nuys Airport. A witness working at the landfill reported hearing engine problem sounds from the aircraft and the wreckage was later found on a hill near the landfill. Both the pilot and passenger were killed.

John R. Calvert, age 77, of Valencia, California

Kevin Alexander Solis, age 36, of Fontana, 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 traveled to the scene of this accident.

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

Location: Sylmar, CA 
Accident Number: WPR20FA108
Date & Time: 03/13/2020, 1447 PDT
Registration: N777WP
Aircraft: Mooney M20K
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On March 13, 2020, about 1447 Pacific daylight time, a Mooney M20K, N777WP, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Sylmar, California. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

Preliminary review of air traffic control communications between the pilot and the air traffic control tower controller revealed that the pilot initially advised the controller he was inbound on the ILS approach. The controller subsequently cleared the pilot to land on runway 16R, and reported wind from 140 degrees, at 7 knots. A short time later, the controller queried the pilot, advising that he was deviating to the west and at a low altitude, to which the pilot responded they were on course and level. About 18 seconds later, the controller alerted the pilot that he was right of course and if he was not established, alternate instructions would be provided. The pilot responded shortly after that he was turning. About 15 second later, the controller issued the pilot instructions to fly heading 160°, climb and maintain 5,000 ft, to which the pilot acknowledged. The controller responded to the pilot's acknowledgement and instructed to the pilot to fly a 160° heading and climb to 5,000 ft, which the pilot acknowledged a second time. Despite further attempts, no further radio communication was received from the pilot.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted power lines, which were about 50 ft in height, before impacting terrain about 250 ft downslope of the powerlines. The fuselage came to rest inverted on heading of about 014° magnetic in a canyon surrounded by mountainous tree covered terrain at an elevation of about 2,315 ft mean sea level (msl). The wreckage debris path was measured about 260 ft in length, oriented on a heading of about 064° magnetic. All major structural components of the airplane were located within about 10 ft of the main wreckage. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Mooney
Registration: N777WP
Model/Series: M20K No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KVNY, 770 ft msl
Observation Time: 2156 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 13°C / 11°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 150°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 900 ft agl
Visibility:  7 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.92 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: North Bend, OR
Destination: Van Nuys, CA (VNY)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 34.330556, -118.526389

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. 

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