Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Cessna 337 Super Skymaster, N143JB: Fatal accident occurred April 20, 2022 near Whiteman Airport (KWHP), Los Angeles 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 traveled to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys, California 

Location: Sylmar, California
Accident Number: WPR22FA160
Date and Time: April 20, 2022, 12:26 Local
Registration: N143JB
Aircraft: Cessna 337 
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On April 20, 2022, at 1226 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 337, N143JB, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Sylmar, California. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

After takeoff, tower personnel instructed the pilot to change radio frequency. The pilot replied that his landing gear had not fully retracted and requested to stay over the airport. The tower queried his intentions, and the pilot stated that he was going to climb to 2,500 ft and circle the airport. Tower personnel approved his request. There were no further radio transmissions from the pilot.

Witnesses in the surrounding area, and traveling on the 210 freeway, observed the airplane in a left turn. Shortly after, they observed the airplane nose drop and spiral to the ground. The airplane came to rest on an embankment wedged between two trees, upright and in a nose-low attitude about 80 ft from the roadway. The airplane’s left wing struck a fence before the airplane struck the ground. The wing remained near the top of the embankment.

The rear engine propeller assembly separated at the crankshaft and came to rest just forward of the right wing. The forward engine propeller assembly also separated at the crankshaft and was found underneath the engine in its relative normal position. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit area to the respective flight control surfaces. The smell of fuel was present at the accident site, and the leftwing outboard and inboard fuel tanks had been breached. The right-wing inboard fuel tank had not been breached and fuel was observed in the tank, the outboard fuel tank had been breached.

The airplane was recovered for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N143JB
Model/Series: 337
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: KWHP, 1003 ft msl
Observation Time: 11:55 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 18°C /7°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 5500 ft AGL 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.03 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Los Angeles, CA (WHP)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 34.310972,-118.43192 (est)

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances east of I-210, Los Angeles, California.

Date: 20-APR-22
Time: 19:27:00Z
Regis#: N143JB
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 337
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 1
Flight Crew: 1 fatal
Pax: 0
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: APPROACH (APR)
Operation: 91

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.

Authorities Friday identified the pilot of a small plane who died when the aircraft crashed alongside the westbound 210 Freeway in the Sylmar area.

John King, 62, died at the scene of the crash, which occurred around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to the coroner's office. King was the only person aboard the plane, Eva Lee Ngai of the FAA said.

Records revealed that the Cessna 337 Super Skymaster was built in 1965, with a valid certificate for flight.

The plane landed in the middle of trees on an embankment along the freeway and did not hit any vehicles. The crash did not spark any flames, and narrowly avoided a group of power lines along that side of the road.

"Fortunately it was not on the 210 Freeway, because things would've obviously been a lot worse," Los Angeles Police Department Captain James Townsend.

"We did not get any information to tell us that the power lines were involved in the airplane crash," said LAFD Deputy Chief Trevor Richmond. "There wasn't any fire, there was a small fuel leak that was contained by fire resources." 

He continued to note that the crews created a small berm in the immediate location of the leak to prevent it from flowing down onto the freeway.

The crash occurred around four miles north of Whiteman Airport in Pacoima, where it departed from at 12:20 p.m., crashing eight minutes later.

Locals have called for the airport to shut down several times in the past, and most recently in January after a pilot crashed onto the train tracks in the area, where he was barely rescued before his aircraft was struck by an oncoming train.

Pacoima Beautiful is one group hoping to shut down the airport. Teodora Reyes, one of the many locals that make up the non-profit organization, spoke with CBS reporters Wednesday evening, where she detailed that since as of 2020, 75 crashes had been related to Whiteman Airport, according to the NTSB.

Adding the three most recent crashes to happen since 2020, brings that total to 78.

"The concern is for the safety of the most impacted members," Reyes said, "who deal with the noise pollution and fear of an airplane falling on their home in the middle of the night."

"I just saw that Skymaster fall out of the sky there," said an air traffic controller over the airport's radio transmission after the crash. "He was at 2100 [feet], and then just descended quickly. At first I thought it was a bird but it was actually him going down."

L.A. City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez issued a statement following the crash on Wednesday evening, which read: 

"Tragically, another life cut short by plane crash, and my heartfelt condolences to the victim's family. Pending confirmation of its departure, the frequency of these incidents should warrant an immediate closure and investigation over the private operations at Whiteman Airport out of respect for the lives of the victims, their families and our community."

Crews on the scene planned to move the plane from the embankment into an empty field adjacent to the crash site by crane, where NTSB and FAA investigators will work to determine the cause.

Witnesses on the scene detailed the moments during and after the crash occurred. 

"All of the sudden you heard like this 'shhh... BOOM,'" said one woman who rushed to where the plane crashed. "When we went over there we didn't see smoke. Nothing was on fire."

Another man who was working at a group home just hundreds of yards from the scene of the crash also ran to the site. 

"We heard the boom and boss said, 'There's a plane crash, see if you can help,'" he told CBS reporters. "So I ran over there and jumped the fence. There was nothing we could do."

The two lanes on the westbound 210 Freeway closest to the crash site were closed as investigators surveyed the scene.

A small plane crashed into an embankment overlooking the 210 Freeway in Sylmar, killing the pilot, on Wednesday afternoon, April 20.

The pilot was the sole occupant of the aircraft, Federal Aviation Administration officials said.

An air traffic controller at Whiteman Airport in Pacoima, six miles from the crash, had advised the pilot to climb to 2,500 feet and fly in a “race-track pattern” along the 210 Freeway while waiting for clearance to land, according to recordings of radio communication.

Then, at 12:27 p.m., he realized there was a problem.

“(I) saw that (Cessna 337) Skymaster fall out of the sky, can you check if he’s on the freeway?” he asked at least one other pilot in a tower broadcast at 12:27 p.m. “I visually observed it about 2.5 miles northwest of the 210/118 interchange there.”

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A pilot was killed Wednesday in the crash of a small airplane on an embankment near the westbound Foothill (210) Freeway in the Sylmar area.

The crash was reported at about 12:30 p.m. near Sayre Street, said Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

"After a thorough search of all void spaces in the aircraft, firefighters did not locate any other victims," Stewart said in a statement about an hour after the crash. "One person determined dead in the aircraft."

Information was not immediately available on the identity of the fatally injured person.

Firefighters quickly contained a small fuel leak, Stewart said.

"There was no fire resulting from the crash," Stewart said. "The NTSB is responding and will be the agency for any questions regarding the aircraft and the circumstances leading to the crash."

The crash occurred in the vicinity of Whiteman Airport in Pacoima. The plane apparently struck a bank of trees before hitting the ground on an embankment just off the freeway. At least two freeway lanes were closed to accommodate emergency vehicles responding to the crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration released the following statement on Wednesday:

"This information is preliminary and subject to change. Please contact local authorities for the pilot’s name and medical condition.

A Cessna 337 Skymaster crashed near Interstate 210 and Hubbard Street in Sylmar, California, around 12:30 p.m. local time. The pilot was the only person on board.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide additional updates.

After investigators verify the aircraft registration number at the scene, the FAA will release it (usually on the next business day) on this webpage. You can look up the aircraft by its registration number on this webpage.

Neither agency identifies people involved in aircraft accidents."


  1. 4 minute flight time.

    1. According to ADS-B data, flight time was 5 min 06 sec



    I don't think he ever saw 100ktas. No rear engine power would be my guess. Sadly far from the first time.

  3. I am guessing loss of total power or at the very least the front engine. The gear pump on that one is on the front engine and the atc audio he is reporting his gear stopped in transition. Looks like only a handful of very short flights recently with nothing for quite some time. Probably some shake out flights, trying to fix something.

    1. Did some older 337's get retrofitted to electric power packs?

      Registration shows the accident aircraft as a 1965 model, airframe serial# 337-0102 which would have been built with the front engine driven landing gear pump. Supposedly, Cessna went to the electric landing gear pump power pack in the 1973 C337 production year.

      Curiously, a well known Texas air salvage company's parts listings shows an electric power pack 1580002-1 taken off a 1965 model 337, along with another listing of a 1580002-3 power pack from a 1969.

      The Texas salvage listing for p/n 1580002-1 power pack belongs to donor aircraft N779SA as determined from photos showing the assembled aircraft at the top of the parts listings for it. N779SA FAA registration shows it as airframe serial# 337-0213 from 1965.

      Salvage listing link is omitted here because linking to for sale items hasn't always been acceptable in KR commenting (not complaining, just explaining).

    2. Power pack on engine driven pump models is just controls and accumulator.

      Example system diagram from similar setup in early C210:

  4. I think he was messing around with trying to get the gear working, lost track of his airspeed, and spun it in. The tower controller stated the plane "fell from the sky," which sounds like a stall or spin. He came to rest inverted, also indicative of a spin. He was at less than 1500' AGL, so not a lot of room to recover.

    1. Aircraft is NOT inverted.

    2. The location of that crash is well without of sight of the controller at Whiteman...

    3. I think you're right about the stall / spin. The aircraft doesn't look inverted to me but it's so wadded up it's hard to say for sure

    4. Lots of drag with gear out at mid cycle, doors in the breeze.

      Looking at this guy in the cockpit hand pumping the gear up on the Mil version, seems like a sure way to loose control if doing that while near to the ground:

  5. Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez rushes to plays politics with aircraft tragedy (again).

    Monica wants to close the Whiteman Airport KWHP because she took TONS of cash from developers who want to steal the land.

    Monica doesn't care about air or ground safety ... she slashed LAPD's budget during a crime wave.

    If you look at Monica Rodriguez' 2017 campaign finance records, the answer is obvious. Take a look:

    Monica's run for office was financed in large part by developers. The Whiteman Airport KWHP land is very, very valuable and developers want it, so they bought her.

    1. Time to make vtol quick air taxis operational so they negate the need for land in cities. And prefab modern housing like Able Nook in Tampa that can let houses be developed for less than 50k on unimcorporated zone free lands. Housing is stuck in the 19th century anyways and a rent-seeking galore of bogus fees, taxes and realt-whores in bed with developers all crafting laws to their benefits.
      Worst of it once can build a stealth bunker underground and use hi-res LCDs as windows and not even have anyone know about it. Moore's law needs to invade this sector and people should stop paying a gazillion $$$ for air between 6 walls. Planes are far better investment...

    2. Ian please contact your doctor, an adjustment in your medication is needed.

    3. Ian makes sense... besides that no one can afford a house anymore and stick/wood construction is an abomination from 1850. Commercial construction is already light years more advanced with metallic structures and glass.

    4. Don't discourage the free thinker. The current SPAC funding schemes for VTOL "air taxi" development rely on people like Ian. For example, the Moller M400 Sky Car is still "The Future of Transportation", as all of the popular air taxi startups claim:

      Article by someone who "invested":

      For reference:

    5. Many current VTOL air taxi schemes share the same "tells" as Theranos had.

      There are claims of performance that are never demonstrated, lots of patents, association with high profile named individuals, partnering with suppliers, announcement of pre-orders before the prototype proves out the claims, low cost predicted for when production begins someday in the future and so on.

      Moller set the standard, and it is all in the internet archive:

      2005 WSJ interview:

      News organizations all hyped up the Moller project and endorsements were claimed from Army, Nasa, Boeing and others. When the SEC got involved, SOMI (Stockholders Of Moller Intl.) made this list while staunchly defending their investment:

      The 1991 cover story in Popular Mechanics:

      Offered to sell the prototype, but no takers:

      If you are leaning toward VTOL concept investing, the Moller example is an important cautionary tale for recognizing the "tells".

    6. Forget the housing crisis in California (all self-inflicted to be sure). What's up with a political hack supporting defunding of law enforcement yet wants to shut down a city airport that rakes in tax dollars? Oh wait that's right: there's something in it for HER. And people wonder why cities like LA, Chicago, Atlanta, and NYC are so f'd up in corruption and out of control crime.

    7. @Anonymous: Whiteman is NOT a CITY airport, it is property of the COUNTY of LA, so there is no easy way for MR or this dubious "Pacoima Beautiful" organization, which is not at all transparent who's behind it and its activities, to shut down the airport.

    8. Thanks Anon. Helpful to know the covert influence behind a politician.

    9. To a developer, GA airports are placeholders. Over decades, suburban development gradually reaches and surrounds what had originally been a relatively remote location. When the airport is the last open space, a developer exercises their political connections to take it.

      Being city or county owned, there is always a path of influence that allows the developer with connections to obtain the public's property asset well below what it would sell for if buyers competed for the land in an open market.

      Universally true everywhere...

  6. I worked on that aircraft at Whiteman. The owner was very very low budget. I had to go out with a battery cart on several occasions so he could start his aircraft. That 337 was in terrible condition.

    1. betting in his last few moments he wishes he wasnt so cheap and low budget. aviation demands dollars to keep the things from crashing. go cheap and you'll wish you spent every dollar you had.

    2. A marginal condition airplane should attract the attention of the airport manager and FBO, particularly when the "Re-envision Whiteman" public relations push is trying to close the field.

      If the advocates of closing Whiteman can justifiably claim that mechanics know of marginal condition aircraft at the field that shouldn't be flying, but mechanics, pilots, FBO and airport management are letting the aircraft owner slide, it's game over.

      See something, say something...

    3. Unless annual…it’s the PICs job to determine airworthiness. Basically all you can do out of annual (as a AP/IA) is get proof of you stating the defect and filing it away for safekeeping and the owner/operator takes it from there whether or not they address it.

    4. As an A&P I cannot force the aircraft owner to do anything. If I was conducting an annual the most I could do is not sign it off. He was well aware of the issues with his aircraft and chose not to address them.

    5. Mo, I agree. I would not approve the aircraft for return to service, just indicate in the logbook that I gave the owner a list of discrepancies.

    6. It's rare in SoCal to not see several dilapidated, possibly abandoned, aircraft at every airport. IYK has what looks like the wreckage from a crash on the side of the runway, although I'm sure the real story on that is far more boring. PTV has what might be a Piper Pacer with the fabric hanging in rags. WHP has a very storied T-6 Texan abandoned on the field. APV has a whole lotta stuff that does not look airworthy at the north end. To me the dead giveaway is a flat tire or a windshield you can't see through.
      The last crash at WHP (train tracks) was also an airplane that was either not airworthy or extremely marginal.

  7. The name in the database as the registered owner of N143JB is shown as the manager of 7CA1 Abraham Ranch Airport, for which there is an "airport for sale" listing in his name in trade-a-plane.

    Could be a case of lagging registration after sale to a new owner if selling off the Abraham Ranch Airport was due to giving up flying.

  8. A bunch of ridiculous statements from the corrupt politicians trying to profit off closing this airport.

    "Pending confirmation of its departure, the frequency of these incidents should warrant an immediate closure and investigation over the private operations at Whiteman Airport out of respect for the lives of the victims, their families and our community."

    This aircraft's departure from Whiteman had *nothing* to do with this accident. It could have been at 2000 feet over the 210 freeway if it took off from Van Nuys, Burbank, or any other area airport. What's next, if an aircraft crashes that has ever landed at Whiteman in its history, we should also blame the airport? Should we shut down LAX out of respect for victims every time there is an accident at LAX? How about shutting down the Metrolink trains every time one kills a pedestrian?

    Speaking of the Metrolink trains, they have killed many pedestrians in the Whiteman area, so why aren't these political hacks calling for the Metrolink to be shut down? Oh wait, it's because railroad property isn't big enough to put luxury condos on, that's why!

    "since as of 2020, 75 crashes had been related to Whiteman Airport, according to the NTSB."

    What she fails to mention is that NONE of these crashes killed or injured anyone on the ground in the "community" she wants to protect.


    1. FAA grant terms often provide a barrier to closing that stymies developers. Here is a news clip:

      "Los Angeles County accepted $234,000 in federal Airport Improvement Program grants for Whiteman Airport in 2020. In accepting the grants, airport owners agree to continue operating the airport for at least 20 years from the date of receipt, an FAA spokesman said."

      "Re-envisioning" might be delayed if those grant terms endure.

      Clip is from:

    2. Unfortunately those grants don't seem to be enough to stop corrupt city politicians in Santa Monica and San Jose from moving forward to be very close to closing important and iconic airports like KSMO and KRHV. Also, look what that disgusting criminal mayor Daly did to Meigs field in Chicago. FAA fines didn't deter him from breaking the law one bit. We need harsher penalties to stop these airport shutdowns.

    3. 75 crashes since 2020 - Really?? What kind of crashes are they counting? Agree, you can't go cheap on aircraft maintenance -0 ever. Little doubt this is the game developers play and it is ugly. Love the comparison to Metrolink - not only are they hazardous at the tracks, but they spew out plenty of diesel exhaust. This really puts things in perspective. Oh and SMO no longer sells 100LL, just 94NL, for about the last two weeks. Thanks to the socialist republic of Santa Monica and also a real estate deal!!

    4. They were using confusing wording, but what they meant was in the history of aviation, 75 crashes have been related to Whiteman airport as of 2020. This is probably fairly typical for most airports of the age and level of usage as Whiteman, and is merely designed to to shock the public.

    5. The 75 count includes crashes distant from Whiteman. Any crash that originated from, or was enroute to Whitemen triggers the association.

      This takeoff crash in Flagstaff, for example. Whiteman was the destination, so crashing in Flagstaff on takeoff goes into the 75 count:

  9. Loss of one AND gear doors acting as spoilers? Bad recipe.

    1. Yes, similar to this other skymaster crash almost a decade ago. The pilot lost one engine, but it wasn't until he cycled the gear that the drag caused him to stall it into powerlines.

  10. Not much info in the preliminary report.