Friday, September 09, 2022

CSA PiperSport, N126WK: Fatal accident occurred September 08, 2022 at Santa Monica Airport (KSMO), Los Angeles County, California

National Transportation Safety Board - Accident Number: WPR22FA338 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Los Angeles, California

Aircraft crashed in the infield during landing under unknown circumstances.

Santa Monica Flyers Inc


Date: 08-SEP-22
Time: 23:25:00Z
Regis#: N126WK
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: SPORT
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 2
Flight Crew: 1 Fatal
Pax: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: DESTROYED
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: SANTA MONICA
State: CALIFORNIA

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email witness@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov. You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290.


Christian West



Santa Monica Flyers

Please join us at Santa Monica Flyers for a Memorial service for our beloved friend Christian on Friday, 9/16, at 5pm.

All of us here at Santa Monica Flyers are heartbroken, but the process of healing begins with community. Now is the time to come together and grieve our loss.

Thank you to everyone who has written, called and dropped off flowers. Our hearts are with you.

— Santa Monica Flyers

Christian West
Certified Flight Instructor at Santa Monica Flyers Inc.

Certified Flight Instructor pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration. Seeking to be a commercial airline pilot after all certifications are received and schooling is complete.

Instructs students learning to operate a single-engine aircraft; working in and out of an airplane. Develops curricula, conducts training flights, determines student proficiency, develop new teaching methods and reports on student progress.


 
National Transportation Safety Board investigator Elliott Simpson.






SANTA MONICA, California (KABC) -- A flight instructor and a student were killed when a small plane crashed at Santa Monica Airport Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

The Santa Monica Fire Department responded to the scene around 4:25 p.m., and firefighters saw the aircraft engulfed in flames after the crash.

Officials say the plane took off around 3:30 p.m. for an introductory flight lesson along the coast of Malibu. The plane was cleared for landing when the student and instructor were returning to the airport.

"The airplane shortly after or possibly just before touch down, pitched into the air aggressively -- nose up, climbed to about a hundred feet and then rolled to the ground, where it impacted the ground," said Elliott Simpson, an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board.

Firefighters extinguished the flames within minutes. Footage from the scene showed the burned wreckage of the aircraft on the tarmac.

The Federal Aviation Administration identified the aircraft as a two-seat, single-engine Piper Sport plane. The Santa Monica Fire Department said the plane was operated by a flight school, later identified as the Santa Monica Flyers.

Officials with the NTSB confirmed the victims killed were an instructor and a student.

They were pronounced dead at the scene. Their names were not immediately released.

According to the NTSB, witnesses and surveillance video saw the plane's final moments in the air.

The Santa Monica Fire Department said neighborhoods nearby were not impacted by the crash.

The NTSB is in charge of the investigation. The airport was closed for the probe but is expected to reopen Friday.




185 comments:

  1. WX For the period:
    KSMO 082351Z 25006KT 10SM CLR 32/17 A2964
    KSMO 082337Z 25007KT 10SM CLR 32/17 A2964
    KSMO 082251Z 23006KT 10SM CLR 32/16 A2967
    KSMO 082151Z 26008KT 10SM CLR 36/15 A2970

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  2. Rest in peace Christian my sister is devastated ... you were her client at her barber shop you well truly be missed ... you had a appointment with her this week so sad rest in peace

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    Replies
    1. Not Christian West. I just flew with him the other week

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    2. This accident happened a couple days ago, so flying with someone last week wouldn't rule out them being in it.

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    3. Christian's first solo flight https://www.facebook.com/100063752041686/videos/10155295890078501/

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    4. Someone needs to learn that the requirements for working on LSAs is different from other aircraft, and stop spouting nonsense. The ATC recording really gives a hint. I've had engine stoppage; the airplane didn't suddenly zoom upwards 100 feet.

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    5. https://www.santamonicaflyers.com/our-instructors/christian-west/

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  3. The “Let Go” x 3 transmissions are very disturbing. God bless their souls and families.

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    Replies
    1. Some smart-ass grabbed the stick and hauled it back, on purpose??

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    2. Sounds to me like the student panicked and yanked the stick back, they entered a stall, and student kept pulling back (maybe a reflex) – hence the frantic "let go, let go, let go!" calls – and the instructor was unable or didn't have time to override the student's control inputs...just a terrible situation all around. RIP 🙏

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    3. Your assessment makes the most sense!

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  4. How many instructors have been killed with their students in the past few weeks, past few months?
    This is why I let my ticket lapse in spite of the fact that I enjoyed instructing and that after accumulating 7K or so hours flying commercially thought it was something I was reasonably good at.

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  5. The video commenter says they were clear for a full stop land, but the audio from the tower seems they were cleared for the option (touch & go). Doesn't sound like a discovery flight, maybe was the first or the second lesson for the student (I personally would not do a touch and go anyway at that point of the training). Just guessing... As a CFI in Van Nuys this is very disturbing. And for sure the "students" should be more screened before going into training. I saw way too many people taking flight lessons while they should just stay home watching TV and not be of any danger to the CFIs.
    RIP fellow CFI.

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    Replies
    1. Listen to the audio again. CFI/pilot very clearly states it will be a full stop landing. They were not performing touch & go’s on an introductory flight.

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    2. And yes, it was an intro flight. First time the student had flown with the flight school

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    3. Who does their maintenance?

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    4. Yea, there ya go, require a psyche doctor’ s printed evaluation report for every new walk in student.

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    5. Data speak for itself. If you’re an instructor you should know that thins doesn’t happen often in the training community and it should require a closer look at what happened so we all better learn to prevent it

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  6. In 40 years of flying, I have never had a student freeze or try to overpower me. I have however, had PPLs, CPLs and ATP colleagues do crazy stuff which could have ended in disaster. Some of them were instructional flights, some part 91 and some commercial ops (135/121). This is going to be very difficult to determine exactly what happened although the inadvertent transmission gives a clue that the student did something, we will not know why unless they had a camera in the cockpit and its data is usable.

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    1. Thank you for speaking up. I can’t believe people are jumping to these extreme conclusions without having any knowing of what happened. Blaming the student is completely unreasonable. This was a fatal and horrible accident.

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    2. Don’t buy their lies. Exactly. That is a LOW excuse by the Santa Monica Flyers owners and employees trying to save their butt so they don’t get sued by the family or shut down by the FAA. I heard the mechanics they work with next door aren’t approved by the FAA and aren’t certified mechanics either. Most are helpers. Their name is Bill’s Air Center, owned by Andres Gonzales and an old man, check their website, no FAA certifications, nothing regulating them. They are not an approved repair station. I’m already getting out of this school and heading to a school in VanNuys. I hope Santa Monica Flyers gives me the money back Monday because there is no way I’m flying on those aircraft ever again and I wouldn’t be surprised if they close the airport so those unlicensed “mechanic trainers” don’t keep touching peoples aircraft.

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    3. Again, why did you stay at Smf with the alleged rumors?

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    4. Most just found out these stuff over the weekend. The savings of many are at this school and everyone is pretty sorry and upset. How long are the aircraft going to be grounded?

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    5. Rumors are all over the place now, people feel cheated and of course worry for their monies. Don’t blame them

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    6. Now they are going to start attacking personally to the commenters who bring different arguments to the debate? Umm

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    7. Nobody is "worried for their monies". Training is pay as you go.

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    8. Not that I heard, some pay in advance to get bundles

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    9. Oh, you say "I heard", not having read the info in the SMF FAQ's, rate page or refund policy in the rental agreement. "I heard" is a Troll tell and you aren't a student there if "you heard" but don't know their policies and arrangements.

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  7. I have been in the Piper Sport. The first flight my CFI reviewed all the rules with me and one of them was “under no circumstances can you touch any of the controls” and I agreed to this. It is a small plane and there is no physical way for a CFI to physically over power the passenger without losing control of the plane during landing. No room to slug someone with an elbow to make a difference. Straight Jackets?

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    1. Because it didn’t happened. Someone is trying to cover up stuff with that rhetoric and blaming that poor kid to save the reputation of the Flight School and the mechanic shop who maintains the aircraft. Many witnesses including SMO City officials and the Police heard a loud bang before the engine failed. I’m a student at the school and everyone is taking about this and how low is to jump into conclusions blaming the kid even before the investigation has even started by the NTSB. The aircraft are maintained by Bill’s Air Center and I heard they aren’t an approved FAA repair station. They are independent mechanics, most without an A&P license… WTH!! The FAA grounded all the other Santa Monica Flyers planes with blue tape so no one removes evidence or fly. Scary and obvious they don’t buy the excuses they are coming up at the school or that crappy mechanic shop next door. Let that poor kid alone, he may have not done anything and instead be a maintenance issue, please. RIP

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    2. That’s a good point. I wouldn’t fly there neither

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    3. They should close the airport NOW. Enough accidents. They have these scammy unlicensed mechanics maintaining these aircraft that children fly over people’s homes? We don’t want to wait until 2028 and see many more lives taken and who knows what else. Shut down those scamming businesses and close the airport NOW! It’s dangerous to all the community

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    4. Time to shut down SMO. It’s clearly unsafe to keep a flying school like that. What is going to be the next tragedy?

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    5. While we’re at it why not close all the public libraries, public boat docks, public golf courses, and everything else taxes go to that I myself don’t personally use. Great idea. Heck, let’s close the highways too. They’re too dangerous.

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    6. Well, you have a point but it doesn’t make it right what happened at SMO

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    7. Re: "Because it didn’t happened. Someone is trying to cover up stuff with that rhetoric and blaming that poor kid to save the reputation of the Flight School and the mechanic shop who maintains the aircraft."

      You are a massive idiot if you think anything mechanical caused a plane to suddenly pitch nearly straight up just before touchdown. You have no idea what you're talking about and do not understand how airplanes work.

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    8. Exactly. This is just another liberal elite crying about SMO.

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    9. The same.people that have a problem with SMO don't seem to mind the Van Nuys airport. Probably because it's.not in a rich white area. Don't buy a house near a historic airport if you don't want to live near one.

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    10. Because it is illegal to criticize Mexicans, Hondurans, Venezuelans, Guatemalans, et al, I won't. After all, why would i want to incur the wrath of the next head of the FAA? This is a shit-hole operation run by the denizens of shit-hole countries.

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    11. You do not have to have an A&P to work on an aircraft - just work under someone who does have an A&P.

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    12. Sounded like some one was freaking out, on audio. To yank the yoke back causing the accident took less than 2 seconds. Need to check out back ground of all front seat passengers, to make sure there not suicidal!

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  8. I heard the FAA has banned all the Santa Monica Flyers aircraft and placed blue tape all over the planes so no one can open their canopy and obviously fly the aircraft.. is this is a sign of concern on the maintenance received? Why would they do that to the entire fleet? The people next door repairing these aircraft, Bill’s Air Center, are independent mechanics who look pretty sketchy btw and their place is not even an FAA approved Repair station... I also heard most of Bill’s employees aren’t certified mechanics or A&Ps but put their hands on the school aircraft?? Why would Santa Monica Flyers allow that? Saving money, Cutting corners perhaps? I heard Santa Monica Flyers had their school for sale last year, that says a lot.. The lost of two lives like this is unnecessary and very sad

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    1. This is normal procedure following an event like this. The flying school will have to present all their maintenance records and training records as well as the personal file for the instructor. The will also have to indicate where the aircraft was last refueled and they will take fuel samples from the fuel provider.

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    2. That’s correct but Bills Air Center is not an approved FAA repair station so they don’t have any jurisdiction over them. Andreas Gonzalez, the owner is just the only one holding an A&P and his nephews and cousins are the helpers. He’s just renting a hangar and performing under his license. How’s the NTSB going to get any records from such a maintenance structure? Are independent mechanics even required to keep records in place?

      One way or another I wish I knew this before I started my training at Santa Monica Flyers

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  9. Maintenance at American Flyers is partially done by Kim Davidson Aviation. The NTSB investigation will check them out

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    1. Bills Air Center is the maintenance shop taking care of Santa Monica Flyers. Andres Gonzalez is there owner. I believe Kim Davidson Aviation does their Cirrus

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  10. There is a Live ATC recording of the incident in which you can hear the CFI scream "Let Go! Let Go! Let Go! Let Go!" Hate to Monday Morninng Quarterback but it's pretty clear what happened.

    I'm a 125 lb Female ATP and back when I was a CFI I had a 225 lb student botch a dirty stall, we broke hard to the Right and he panicked and cross controlled it and burried the yoke in his belly. We snapped into a spin. I called "my plane" three times then karate chopped him in the throat. He let go and I recovered. It happens

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    1. That’s insane, glad you’re ok. A lot of people are hurt and concerned hence these comments. Some want to use anything they can to put their hands on to close the SMO airport others are trying to give a break to the kid and opening the discussion of an engine failure or poor maintenance and it seems like there are some students concerned and trying to get their money back at any cost... rhat a mess. A sad day for the local aviation community for sure

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    2. As a CFI also took on a student pilot (also a physician) who didn't solo yet after 60 hrs. Guy was telling me he was ready for it but since it was my plane I was cautious. I told him several times on taxiing about the whole positive control transfer, and what does he do? He start to botch the takeoff with an immediate pull up as we reach 50 kn, I tell him "my plane!!" and what does he do? he pulls the throttle out instead. Basically doing something random instead of handing me the controls. Luckily for me I pushed it on and wrestled the controls from the asshat and we went up then I landed and I told him to forget about any career in Aviation. Some people are just a danger and it is a CFIs job to also serve as gatekeeper to prevent such types from becoming certificated and far more dangerous than to themselves.

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    3. > "Luckily for me I pushed it on and wrestled the controls from the asshat and we went up then I landed and I told him to forget about any career in Aviation."

      No CFI would continue a takeoff under those circumstances.

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    4. My teenager did this exact same discovery flight this summer with SM Flyers, in the other Piper Sport. They took off and landed a few times at the end of the lesson, and everything went smoothly. Son liked it but was so hot in the cockpit on that summer day he told me he wasn't going to fly a plane again unless there were some dire emergent circumstance that necessitated it. My family and I are heart broken and shaken up about this accident - while this wasn't my son's instructor, it is devastating all around. RIP to those who passed and condolences to all who loved them.

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    5. lol if you're short on runway, you'll go up before you'll let it run off the end. Then land.

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    6. If your student pulled up early/low speed as the story describes and you were too short on runway remaining to make a stop from that point, you shouldn't be using that runway for instruction.

      Students should skee-daddle away from CFI's that don't understand balanced field length.

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    7. If your student pulled up early/low speed as the story describes and you were too short on runway remaining to make a stop from that point, you shouldn't be using that runway for instruction.

      Students should skee-daddle away from CFI's that don't understand balanced field length.

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    8. >If your student pulled up early/low speed as the story describes and
      >you were too short on runway remaining to make a stop from that
      >point, you shouldn't be using that runway for instruction.
      >Students should skee-daddle away from CFI's that don't understand
      >balanced field length.

      Wow, where do people come up with this kind of drivel? I trained at a 2500 foot runway, was tight and we often had committed takeoffs shortly after the roll started. It was the only site without having to drive for hours. We make do with what we have to. Students have successfully learned to fly on relatively short runways for decades.

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    9. The story claims to be about a first time with a new student who hadn't solo'd yet after 60 hrs. A CFI would be making a mistake to start with a 2500 foot runway for that circumstance of deficient student skill. Unless the story is a fib, the CFI in that story had room to stop but didn't or made a poor choice on where to conduct the initial lesson with the Doc

      Either way, skee-daddling away from that CFI is the right answer.

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  11. Yeah it’s obvious this is the local area Realtors Association squadron looking into anything they can to stir up the waters. Now they got it to attach the airport businesses and how dangerous it’s for the community. They’ll do anything to create an argument, bring fear to their ultimate mission target, shutting down the SMO airport.

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    1. Let's make sure they never ever get those 200+ acres. The fight is still raging and electric aviation as well as air taxis may turn the tide. All we need is Elon to take an interest in a flying Tesla 3 and the wrath of god will annihilate those real-whore when they are opposed by the trillions of those who will need the land for a new type of aviation.
      I despise realtors btw... I'd rather be wealthy and live under a bridge than buy another house as I was burned by their stupid fees and the rent-seeking aspect of the whole house trading industry. The most useless profession on the planet besides politician or frivolous lawsuit lawyers.

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  12. I'd like to know who the anonymous troll is who keeps posting the same slander about Bill'.s Air maintenance. I've rented from SM Flyers for more than a decade. Maintenance is excellent. I've never had even the slightest issue. The ATC recording tells it all.

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    1. I think these are the people living around the airport, possibly concerned about their safety as well. Let’s all get together and talk about our concerns to better understand where the root of the problem. We shouldn’t point fingers and find solutions instead. I understand everyone is in shock right now and we should all support each other instead of arguing like this

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    2. The people around the airport were warned and had to sign waivers. The airport was way long there before them. This is argument 101 why the land around around each airport needs to be a buffer zone devoid of anything but parks and gold courses. Since those realtors love to change airports into parks.

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    3. More than a decade? It hasn't been open that long. There was an increase in maintenance breakdowns and failures since mid 2020.

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    4. From their website:

      "...founded Santa Monica Flyers in 2009."

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  13. To the person who keeps commenting with direct attacks on airport businesses (Bill's, et al):

    First of all, I would like to remind you that two young lives have been lost here. It certainly looks as though you are trying to politicize accidental and tragic deaths. Please consider that. The dead are promising young people from your own community. I hope that you are able to put empathy before whatever agenda you are promoting.

    Next, you make the mistake of quoting regulations without fully understanding the context. A business such as Bill's does NOT require a Part 145 certificate to operate. Andres' employees do not need to be licensed A&Ps. The FAA has established that a licensed A&P or IA is allowed oversee the work of assistants or even an un-trained aircraft owner. This set-up is quite common in the industry. If you feel differently, then your issue is not with Bill's or SMO airport, or Santa Monica Flyers....it is with the FAA and the regulatory structure. Furthermore, it sounds like you have some kind of problem with family businesses. Care to elaborate on that?

    There is plenty of factual information already available. If you chose to listen to the recorded radio traffic (though I do not recommend it), you will hear the reason that many are speculating about the actions of the student, as opposed to something wrong with the airplane. I think many people would say that it's not yet appropriate to point fingers at individuals, businesses, or to leverage this accident to further a personal agenda. Throwing red herrings (the "pop") doesn't help either. Again, please show some empathy. This kind of discourse does not help the different factions surrounding SMO Airport to understand each other better.

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    1. Yes. He was a good pilot. RIP. Thank you for this comment

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    2. I wish we could like this comment and move it to the top. Thank you for articulating what I wanted to say!

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    3. Thank you for a very well-reasoned, rational post! Would that all commenters be as well-behaved!!

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  14. Unfortunately many people want to see the SMO airport closed down. It’s not a secret and it’s obvious some comments here are the result of that. Please like the previous user mentioned, let’s all be adults and don’t politicize a personal agenda by attacking those working at the airport. SMO will NOT close down until 2028, get over it and any attempts to discredit the businesses operating there will be a waste of your time. Embrace the aviation community thru difficult moments and let’s support each other, wait for the investigation results before coming into any conclusions and this goes for both sides. For those blaming the young kid or those blaming the mechanics. Thank you.

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    1. The people who want it shut down are the stupid SoCal idiots who moved near an airport and suddenly realize they don't like airplane noise. Well you moved near the oldest and one of the best airports in California so STFU. I'll be fighting with my pwn money and time to keep the great airport open. This accident is very sad. I met the instructor. Great guy. We never take anything in life for granted and we take risks everyday just by waking up. We become idiots when we come up with irrational solutions.

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  15. Why Smf doesn’t takes their aircraft to Kim Davidson Aviation instead? They are a FAA repair station and all their employees are A&Ps not helpers

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    1. What do you personally know about these businesses? I am not affiliated with any of the companies in question but it sounds like you're evaluating them on a single metric.

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    2. Sorry but I must again correct another silly assertion… there is no requirement for anyone at an FAA approved part 145 Repair Station to have an A&P mechanic certificate. It’s the same silly thought that an IA is a ‘super’ A&P. A repair station is an alternate system for licensing aircraft maintenance, in exchange for not requiring an A&P mechanic certificate the repair station is subject to a high level of FAA scrutiny. The chief inspector is issued a repairman certificate if he is found to be qualified and does not hold an A&P. Same principle as the builder of a home built airplane being issued a repairman certificate for his or her aircraft. An A&P mechanic can supervise others repairing aircraft just as a repair station chief inspector supervises the work of others. A repair station chief inspector can personally inspect and return an aircraft to service annually and can inspect a major alteration. An A&P has to have Inspection Authorization for that.

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  16. Regarding a post stating:
    "I’ll definitely ask my pending training course funds back"

    1. From the SMF FAQ's, on paying for flying:
    "At Santa Monica Flyers, training is "pay-as-you-go" even if you only pay for one lesson at a time"
    2. From the SMF Rates page, time can also be purchased in 10 hour blocks.
    3. The SMF Rental Agreement describes refund policy.

    If the person posting actually is a student and has unused block time, it won't be an issue to get that refunded. No packaged one-price training programs are offered by SMF, but if you aren't actually a student there, you might make inflammatory postings that show you didn't know anything about the training arrangements.

    Same energy as "I was aware while training and was SHOCKED about how they use unqualified mechanics, but kept on taking lessons in spite of that knowledge."

    Easy to spot those types of posts.

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  17. It’s America pal, people can speak their mind, just like u do

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    1. > "Just like you do" Nope.
      - Original post asserts claim without substantiation.
      - Reply post compared claim to easy to find documentation.
      - "Energy" comment examined logic of other associated claim.

      Claims fell apart immediately by simple checking & logic.
      Commenting should be respectful of the forum that KR provides to us.

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  18. I'm a student at SMF and this was my instructor. I've never experienced anything at the school other than a great regard for safety and the well being of everyone involved. The instructor was a great pilot as well as a teacher. If there were maintenance issues with planes they would be grounded and lessons cancelled until it was safe to fly.

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    1. As a fellow Sportcruiser pilot, I have been deeply affected by this tragey. The ATC recording is gut-wrenching, and so sad to listen to. My heartfelt condolences go out to you, the folks at SMF, and anyone else affected by this tragedy. Friends often ask me if I feel safe while flying. I always tell them that flying is very safe…..just terribly unforgiving. RIP aviators. Fly on, and be at peace.

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    2. He was my instructor as well and I wouldn't be a Private Pilot (and soon to be CFI) without him, extensively skilled both in ground and as a pilot in the air. Christian defined SMF for solid core of us as an example of a genuinely supportive CFI and human being. Very missed.

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  19. Unfortunately, I witnessed this accident. There was no bang or other loud noise prior to aircraft impact.

    As an ATP and 30 year CFI, I am certain that there is no possibility of the accident being maintenance related in any way.

    As for Bill's Air Center, I have flown and instructed in several planes which they maintain and found their work to be quite good. I find them to be a reliable and reputable shop. I must add, that I believe that Andreas recently saved a friend of mines life but performing a careful inspection and finding a very imminent catastrophic engine failure on the ground in his shop. The vicious comments about Bill's are without foundation.

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  20. Replies
    1. Many commenters rely on second hand descriptions of what can be heard on the LiveAtc recording. Those who listened haven't commented about hearing more than just the "let go" vocalization.

      While the "let go" voice is easily discernible, a second person can be heard grunting. The grunts are heard among the series of let go's.

      Several scenarios are possible for the circumstance where a clearly discernible voice is yelling "let go" while the other occupant of the cockpit is grunting.

      Ignore the distraction posts about maintenance that the troll keeps adding and consider opening and listening to the LiveAtc mp3 recording for yourself. Use headphones if you don't hear the grunts at first. Disturbing as the recording is, analysis of the sounds coming from both who were aboard is on the investigator's to do list.

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    2. Heard the grunting too. And that last one! Ouch! Sounds like someone could've been having a seizure and seized control of the aircraft at a critical moment. Yes, I hope that's on the investigator's checklist.

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    3. "Sounds like someone could've been having a seizure and seized control of the aircraft at a critical moment."

      I mentioned this in relation to the (ahem) phenomenon widely occurring around the world at the moment and my post was deleted. Meanwhile clear cases of slander are passed over and allowed.

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    4. Forum survival these days requires that posts about the phenomenon be removed else hosting may suspend. KR is still able to provide this comment forum to us by moderating in conformance with the known (ahem) compliance expectations while many other forums have ended.

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  21. Says it was a Rotax, not a Jabiru. Rotax are very reliable. But use of Premium auto gas is problematic....quote NTSB below from their previous accident it was clear that the installation of the fuel system was not in compliance with Rotax and CSA bulletins:

    Fuel System

    An amendment to the Rotax 912-ULS installation manual was added on August 1, 2012. The amendment required the installation of a fuel return line, designed to prevent engine malfunctions caused by the formation of vapor in the fuel system. The amendment stated that compliance was mandatory. It further stated:

    "If the fuel distributor piece with regulator from Rotax is not available, the fuel pressure must be regulated by a restriction in the fuel return line, which ensures that the fuel pressure is under all operation condition within the operating limits specified by Rotax."

    Examination of the airplane's fuel system revealed that the fuel return line had not been installed. According to representatives from Czech Aircraft Works, the installation of a fuel return line was made standard on all SportCruiser airplanes manufactured after September 2010.

    A series of safety alerts were issued by Czech Aircraft Works during the two-year period following the accident, in response to limiting the possibility of vapor lock, specifically:

    Safety Alert SA-SC-006, issued on October 16, 2017 mandated the installation of a fuel return line in accordance with the updated recommendations in Chapter 73-00-00, of the Rotax installation manual. The alert was applicable to all SportCruiser airplanes manufactured before May 14, 2009 (The accident airplane was manufactured in 2008).

    Safety Alert SA-SC-011, issued on August 31, 2018, provided a set of updates to the POH regarding engine operation. One of the updates required the following addition to all sections of the POH that mentioned fuel:

    WARNING

    "Use only fuel formulated for the specific climate zone.
    Pay special attention to the current outside air temperature.
    Do not use winter MOGAS blends in warmer than normal temperatures.
    RISK OF VAPOR FORMATION IF WINTER FUEL IS USED FOR SUMMER OPERATION."


    -----

    That being said a loud bang being heard could be a bird scare system...see them in operation at airports all the time. The pitch up was either mechanical or passenger lock-up. Sad part is not much left to investigate.

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    Replies
    1. Q: Why was there no return line on the aircraft in the 2016 event?

      A: Because Czech Aircraft Works didn't issue any safety alert in 2012 when they revised their aircraft design to add the return line in accordance with the 2012 Rotax Company installation instruction change.

      Rotax's change of engine installation instructions to installers wasn't a proper notification pathway to reach existing aircraft owners and maintainers. Czech Aircraft Works had a duty to generate the Safety Notice in 2012.

      Defaulting responsibility onto Mx outfits to upgrade aircraft with a fuel return line when they eventually installed a replacement engine and noticed changed engine manufacturer's installation instructions doesn't substitute for alerts or AD's.

      If Czech Aircraft Works had issued Safety Alerts in 2012, every owner and maintainer would have been informed to install a return line, via the process set up for that purpose. That didn't happen.

      The "blame maintenance" whataboutism of trying to use the 2016 incident as "proof" is discredited.

      Delete
  22. RIP, tragic for everyone. Like all aviation disasters us pilots want to know and learn from it, we all can't make every mistake and it helps the community as a whole when we can learn from someone else mistake or tragic accident.

    For those with an obvious agenda, shame on you. You're despicable and don't deserve a comment back.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Rotax don't 'back fire' or throw pistons generally. Very docile and reliable engines when maintained and operated IAW their manuals. Hope they are able to come up with some good information for us all to learn from.

    ReplyDelete
  24. unfortunately it seems to be quite obvious that somebody in the cockpit has done something to cause the aircraft to severely pitch up as it was touching down. you can hear the pilot who has keyed the mic say something barely intelligible which sounds like "[unknown] pull it up" and then other pilot next to them yelling "let go let go let go." this tells us that the mic was hot (most likely inadvertently) like you would expect from an amateur grabbing the stick. it also tells us that without question, two people were trying or at least had their hands on the sticks. one who was yelling to let go, who is clearly in the other seat from whoever was keying the microphone, and whoever was keying the microphone. one scenario makes the most sense given these facts

    draw your own conclusions

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You left out the clearly heard grunting. And my take on the very first utterance heard was "Are you ready for [unintelligible}? by listening on multiple replays using audio player with speed, pitch and equalizer controls, but the hearing of that first utterance was not conclusive enough to post.

      Maybe it was "Are you ready to pull it up?" A discovery passenger becoming fearful with stick in hand while responsible for the flare certainly could be the grunter. The mic press was likely by the discovery person as grip intensity rose.

      Delete
    2. I personally believe it was a partial engine failure or aircraft structural damage

      Delete
    3. Correct! Looking at the photos, there was clearly structural damage.

      Delete
  25. Seats don't move:
    "The rudder pedals are conventional in design, incorporating toe brakes and can be adjusted fore and aft by pulling a small lever situated under the outboard edges of the instrument panel towards the occupant and then pushing the spring-loaded pedals away from the occupant or letting them come towards you."

    From:
    https://www.australianflying.com.au/news/pipersport-lsa-flight-test-a-new-beginning

    ReplyDelete
  26. Am I mistaken in looking at the one photograph of the crash site that it appears to show a person still sitting in I assume is the right hand seat. The audio portion of the flight is chilling and it certainly appears that the CFI was yelling at the student to let go. Why the troll in the above comments keeps bringing up mechanical issues is beyond me.

    ReplyDelete
  27. This was just a plain case of student freezing on the controls....The only posting needed.....I assume there is video of the crash....if not, only place in Cal. without a camera other than KSFO....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Real experienced pilots here have attest there was no Bang from the engine or engine failure as said by some bullshiters. I agree. That is called a Panic Pull. Some idiots do that went startled by something that needed a man to do well. Like a bounce on the flare.

      Delete
  28. Having read these comments and others on KR, I have come to conclusion that there should be no "anonymous" comments and all comments should be moderated before publishing. Our right to free speech does not mean you have the right to go onto someone's website, in this case KR, and say anything you damn well please. It's like if went into your house and started talking trash about you and your family. Then, when you threw me out, I complained you violated my right to free speech. But you have rights too. I am in your house, and you have every right to tell me to take my "free speech" elsewhere and if I spread lies about you or your family that cause negative consequences in your life (standing) you have the right to sue me for slander. I could go on and on but it is best summed up in one sentence: My right to punch ends where your nose begins.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Plus it get a bit confusing distinguishing one Anonymous from another Anonymous from another Anonymous. It might be that there is only one Anonymous commenter out there.

      Delete
    2. Frank Fielder: I don't agree with your suggestion regarding the 1st Amendment as it is a slippery slope that can create more problems than it solves. However, I do think KR should add a feature that allows the users to self-moderate using a "voting" function (e.g., like Reddit, FlightAware, etc.). The more upvotes a comment receives, the more prominent it's placement on the page. This moves the trash to the bottom where you can easily avoid it.

      Delete
    3. That is a GREAT suggestion!
      KR should add a feature that allows the users to self-moderate using a "voting" function (e.g., like Reddit, FlightAware, etc.). The more upvotes a comment receives, the more prominent it's placement on the page. This moves the trash to the bottom where you can easily avoid it.

      Delete
    4. A "flag as inappropriate" feature would be sufficient. Creating the impression that the most upvoted comments are best is how a joke cryptocurrency with a photo of a cute dog got so much validation.

      Delete
  29. RIP
    CFI is a dangerous job.
    How about we all pretend God reads every post and act accordingly.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I never considered as a CFI that I would encounter such a situation, or that I would not be able to overcome a panicked student. Only one student ever caused me concern, during a 172 checkout. Don't think I've ever heard any other instructor speak of such an occurence either. Exceedingly rare I would think, or becoming more frequent ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really? Instead of saying it is a rarity and dismiss prep for it, you should have a plan and be ready for it. Because it happens more often than you deny it. And yes, Im a CFI of hard maneuvering (Emergency Low Maneuvering). Sone freeze, Some lock on controls and dont want to let go. Almost killed me. Seen that.

      Delete
  31. I bet every instructor who has been with a number of students has had at least one do something completely unexpected that caught the instructor off guard. Usually the outcome isn’t bad. Sometimes it is.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Santa Monica flyers are awesome. I work in MDE CO and the airport will not be closing now that they can use unleaded fuel. We need this airport as a community. I also love the piper sport. The atc recording is very clear. Let go let go let go! This accident has already been solved by anyone with an IQ of 85 or more. No plane shoots in the air for no freaking reason. The low IQs on here are fat with monkey pox

    ReplyDelete
  33. When I was doing my PPL, I treated a “go around” as a “touch and go” by accident. I could tell I scared my CFI off guard that day.

    For those who don’t know, in go around you apply full power THEN gradually retract flaps, while as in touch and go you retract the flaps (obviously during rollout after you land the plane, at least in the C172 procedure we used) THEN add full power.

    We were doing touch-and-gos in KMYF. My instructor asked me to land the plane but I had a serious bounced landing after touchdown. After that bounce the IAS was 50-ish kts and the airplane was in a high pitch attitude. My instructor called out “go around”. I, applied full throttle, and slammed the flaps handle to 0 degree full up on that C172. We were low and slow (50-ish kts maybe even lower) over the runway and seeing the airplane falling out of the sky towards the runway.

    My instructor called out “my control” out of panic and I immediately let go. He held the nose just so that we were barely airborne to gain some airspeed, and did the climb out. Phew!

    I have always wonder that if I ever become a CFI someday and get into situation like this, will I successfully recover from it? I don’t think I can save the plane in the scenario Christian had.

    Interestingly I had a similar low and slow experience in eastern Nebraska (on our way from Norcal to Oshkosh this year). The wind was reported 15G30 but it’s ~20 kts gust from left/right/front/back. So it was a low level wind shear. I was established on the final but my IAS goes all over the place. In the last moment the wind changes and I slammed on the ground, causing me to go around, but the tailwind was so strong I barely had any positive rate. It required a so delicate control that maintain the pitch just there to gain airspeed to have lift. This reminded me the small near-accident during my flight training.



    ReplyDelete
  34. Not a pilot, is it possible to disconnect the passenger yoke so that they cannot control the plane? Although this is no guarantee, it seems to me that this would prevent this type of thing with first time students until they get used to flying. Because panic is an emotional and hormonal response, it has to be prevented.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have not seen any planes where one control overrides the other on general aviation airplanes. Some planes come with only a single control for the pilot, some come with a single control between the two pilots, but most have dual controls, both equally capable of controlling the aircraft.

      Delete
  35. Not a pilot, is it possible to disconnect the passenger yoke so that a passenger cannot control the plane? It seems to me that this should be done in ALL initial student flights until they get used to flying. Panic is both hormonal and emotional that is not subject to verbal correction or objectivity; it has to be prevented.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Discovery flights include some hands on time by the prospective student, making it necessary to retain dual control function. If the circumstance here was CFI allowing student on the controls during the first landing ever experienced, the "get used to flying" idea is better supported by NOT letting any prospective student go hands on in that very first landing.

      Find out their reaction to the first ever landing experience (with arms folded) before allowing them to touch controls during approach. If they show signs of panic, adjust training methods accordingly or decline them.

      Delete
    2. Correct. But panic is like turning on the light and discovering that there is a lion in the room with you. You will do ANYTHING to get out of that room ASAP. My main concern is that whether the arms are folded or not, if they can grab the controls and control the plane then they will in a panic. I understand that this is pretty rare, but it is like car accidents. Nobody knows when they will happen, otherwise they could all be avoided. As ultrasound technology improves many of them will be avoided. Maybe future airplane technology can address (prevent) at least some of this.

      https://otonomo.io/blog/ultrasonic-data-automotive-iot/

      Delete
    3. Just to clarify: Are you proposing using ultrasound position sensing to detect the unfolding of the person's arms and maybe electric shocking (Taser Tech) the prospective student if they reach for the controls?

      Delete
  36. Why hasn't the identity of the student been published?

    ReplyDelete
  37. The student was Jackson Nazario

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the information.

      Delete
    2. Looking at his GoFundMe page, it seems like he was a really nice guy and had lots of friends. And this was his very first flight! What a tragic outcome! I guess you never know how a passenger on a discovery flight will react.

      Delete
    3. Confirmed by the LA Coroner:
      https://mec.lacounty.gov/case-detail/?caseNumber=2022-09506
      https://mec.lacounty.gov/case-detail/?caseNumber=2022-09507

      Wonder why the news media hasn't done a follow up on this? Too much other death and destruction to cover in LA, I guess?

      Delete
  38. Wondering if it’s possible that the CFI said something right at touchdown like “Now pull the throttle all the way back”, and the student confused the stick with the throttle.
    I’ve heard a few tales of semantics nearly causing catastrophe with newbies

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wouldn't let a prospective student attempt any sort of landing on the first discovery flight.

      Delete
    2. I personally wouldn't let someone on their first discovery flight manipulate the controls during any critical phases of flight.

      Delete
    3. On my first flight, my CFI had me do everything from taxi, to takeoff, to landing, other than talk on the radio and it worked out fine. The second flight I was talking on the radio too. If my CFI babied me and held me back preventing me from flying the plane, he would have wasted his time and mine. There is no "one size fits all" approach to flight training. Granted my CFI had 30 years of experience, so he knew how and when to step in if needed.

      Delete
  39. Wondering if right at touchdown the CFI said something like “Now pull the throttle all the way back.” , and the student mistook the stick for the throttle. I’ve heard a few tales of semantics nearly causing catastrophe with newbies.

    ReplyDelete
  40. F.McHugh, PiperSport student pilotTuesday, September 20, 2022 at 3:04:00 PM EDT

    I offer my condolences to all of those affected.

    I will not speculate on the various causes mentioned in this or other threads, nor comment on any conjecture. But only offer facts, my comments and questions and add technical aspects of the PiperSport/Sport Cruiser. My flying experience is that I hold a student pilot certificate with an endorsement for solo flight in the PiperSport airplane. Most of my flying is on the East Coast and I had one flight with a CFI at SMF.

    My comments:
    . flight track, with altitude and speed data, and ATC communication, as reported, up to the point of the first "Let go!" are normal and within standard PiperSport flight parameters
    . the PTT is at the top and back of the stick, and triggered, primarily by the index or middle finger
    . the aircraft location at the first "Let go!" appears to be west of Bundy Ave at maybe 700' - 800' from the runway bar
    . the crash was about 500' after the runway bar and south of the runway center line
    . the last two speed data points were 60 and of 52 knots
    . which translates to 12 to 15 seconds to travel 1,300'
    . even if the total distance was longer, time does not significantly increase
    . the time to react is even less because at the top of the stall, and the airplane losing lift, recovery may be impossible at that point

    Two comments about the PiperSport:
    . the flaps are electrically controlled and cannot be "dumped"
    . you can certainly retract them from a fully extended position, but it would take a few seconds
    . the rudder pedals at each seat cannot be reached from the other seat
    . see on-line photos of the Piper Sport interior

    In any situation the pilot must aviate, navigate, communicate. In this situation the first reaction is to regain control of the aircraft. The lack of altitude, and time, were significant factors against possible options.

    To those familiar with ballistic parachutes, this aircraft was equipped with one, my only questions are:
    . could deployment of the parachute, at any time up to the point of stall, been effective for recovery?
    . if, as reported, the airplane pitched up to 100' would the parachute, deployed at that height, have opened sufficiently to somewhat mitigate the crash?

    There is training for all aspects of flight and airplane operation from beginning at pre-flight and concluding at engine shutdown. However, I do not believe there is a published training regime if any person puts an aircraft in a dangerous attitude and refuses to comply with "let go" or "my flight controls".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is neither the time nor altitude to deploy a ballistic parachute after crossing the threshold on a normal approach and some one pulls the stick/yoke fully aft. That act would pitch the nose up (for a CFI trying to demonstrate to newby a nice hold it off flare to squeak touch down). The pitch up would gain 50'-100' and then stall. So stalling the a/c at say 75', and then it dumping into a stalled-half spin. Nose down. No survival.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the clear-headed explanation!

      Delete
  41. For those of you who feel a need to attack the maintenance shop and/or instructors of this flight school, the flight school issues recently is due to the new general manager—this was a sad accident that is all and is separate.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Really disheartened by all the trolls and stupidity on this site. It seems there is no place in America where ppl can show some civility, respect and intelligence. Clearly many of you are advocating a position against the airplane ownership and maintenance facility. This is not the time for goodness sakes. Show some damn respect or go troll elsewhere you toxic disturbed people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How old are you? 10? Opinions are like a**holes, everybody has one and most of them stink. Most comments are not about "advocating a position against the airplane ownership and maintenance facility". Apparently you have not learned to ignore stinky opinions, opting to rage against those who do not agree with you, with the added bonus of making them ad hominem comments. Being a crybaby IS pointless.

      Delete
    2. @ the 2:58 PM poster: There are recognizable style and content similarities in the multitude of posts submitted by the troll who mis-characterizes the maintenance of the aircraft. The similarities are how you recognize that it isn't actually a bunch of toxic disturbed people.

      Delete
    3. Really disheartened by all the trolls and stupidity on this site. It seems there is no place in America where ppl can show some civility, respect and intelligence. Clearly many of you are advocating a position against the airplane ownership and maintenance facility. This is not the time for goodness sakes. Show some damn respect or go troll elsewhere you toxic disturbed people.

      See how stupid you are when you see what you wrote.

      Delete
    4. @ the 9:16 PM poster: Except for thinking the trolling isn't just one or a small number of individuals, the 2:58 PM poster is spot on. Claiming that the 2:58 PM post is stupid exhibits similarities detected previously.

      Delete
  43. Does anyone know the name of the student who was killed? Very sad situation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Name was posted upthread. Click here to go direct:
      http://www.kathrynsreport.com/2022/09/csa-pipersport-n126wk-fatal-accident.html?showComment=1663591974756#c1515183414723214777

      Delete
  44. Terrible accident, condolences to family and friends, RIP to the diseased. This happened 2 weeks ago but has not yet been added to the NTSB database although many incidents newer have. What might the reason be for this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can only assume different FSDO's have different workloads and staff volume to handle updating and reporting. Just a guess tho...

      Delete
    2. If you have been checking for this N number in CAROL, you will see that the NTSB number WPR22FA338 has now shown up, which means they are within a day or so of posting the preliminary report. This is how the CAROL posting proceeds in accidents, nothing unusual about report being just beyond the two week intention.

      The big unknown is whether content will be anything beyond a "Joe Friday" stenographer's what when where version. With transcript and timing of cockpit communications typically being something that only gets included in a final, this preliminary is unlikely to include any detail about the heard "let go" comm.

      There is a huge variation in preliminary report detail, which seems to depend on who is lead investigator. For example, some recovered engines in an apparent lost power accident without fire damage get a thumb compression check report in the prelim and others of similar circumstances don't. Not having a more uniform preliminary report level of detail is something the agency should remedy, more important than whether an often perfunctory report meets or misses the intended two weeks.

      Delete
  45. I don’t understand your point. The media reported on the accident and now there’s not much else to do until the investigation is at least partially complete, which is what appears to be happening from your link. Without being a famous person, etc., his body enters the queue.

    ReplyDelete
  46. CFIs this can happen to YOU too! This isn’t the first time things went awry during a discovery flight (and unfortunately won’t be the last). Keep your guard up! The following links recap a different but potentially similar situation:

    http://www.kathrynsreport.com/2020/02/cessna-172m-skyhawk-n5185r-accident.html?m=1

    https://data.ntsb.gov/Docket?ProjectID=100961


    RIP. There wasn’t much Christian could do…

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel like there was more he could have done. Not sure what the pre-flight brief is like for someone who has never flown before, but maybe better pre-flight brief of what you should not hold on to; and what you should hold onto in case of an emergency or startle situation.
      Your sitting side-by-side inches from the other person. I have never in my life had to physically hit someone; however, instead of screaming "let go" over and over, I feel like I would have reached over and punch him in the face as hard I can to knock him off balance/stun him and force him to relax/let go. I doubt the student would be happy with a broken nose or jaw, but you have to be alive to be unhappy, seems like a better outcome...

      Delete
    2. RE: "more he could have done"

      A pitch up input during the period when landing flare is on the agenda can quickly manifest into unrecoverable stall. Just a few seconds delay in CFI regaining unfettered control of the stick to start counteracting what's happening is all it would have taken to go past the point of recovery.

      First action was to move the stick. Resistance was felt. Then "let go" is vocalized, with an expectation of immediate cooperation. Resistance continues. A fist smash now would help, but time has ticked by.

      Easy to say that you would have gotten physical and saved the day, but the elapsed time from recognizing that the initial "let go" hadn't freed your stick and reaching the point of no return was probably shorter than we imagine sitting here with calm heart rates and convenient "foreknowledge" of the likely circumstances in the cockpit.

      Delete
    3. @ the idiot making a minority comment, grab your hammer and go pound salt. I’ve been on plenty of discovery flights with minorities, what say you of this incident?? If you are Caucasian/white, do you shoulder the mistakes others of the same race make in aviation and other walks of life??

      @anon stating the instructor could have done more, with all due respect you clearly haven’t a clue about timing and sequence, particularly disturbing if you teach others….

      It’s also disturbing how many people think it’s so easy to recover from these situations. This isn’t unusual attitude at 4k+ AGL. Have you ever tried to hit something precisely, hard, while pointed downward and rotating in the opposite direction you need to swing??

      Delete
    4. It is utter nonsense that SMF "could have done more" here short of closing their doors and never flying again. I got my license from this school and did a discovery flight there. Before a discovery flight they do a lesson for 30+ minutes explaining things, there are briefings about safety, and they have a very clearly explained procedure and need for "I have the controls, you have the controls, I have the controls." Always three times, and the instructors deal with students literally every day.

      The student has undoubtedly grabbed the stick and pulled back for an unknown reason. Poor christian had probably a second or two to get the student to let go before there was a singular outcome. Unfortunately the student did not comply.

      Sport Cruisers are INCREDIBLY pitch sensitive. Yanking the stick back will pitch the airplane up severely. Being slow and apparently at touchdown when this occurred means they were quite slow. You cannot do much to counter an erratic movement by another adult male of similar size in a second or two.

      Delete
    5. Not much elapsed time for the CFI to try to overpower the student on the stick. Student was 28 and physically strong - see student's photo study by photographer Howard Schatz as he grew up, last entry made when he was 25. Easy to find.

      Delete
    6. The incident (link above) with N5185R that occurred in NC about two years back is indeed eerily similar and I can't help but notice that in both cases the CFI was a few years younger than the discovery flight student sitting in the left seat. My take is younger CFIs may have less experience reading a prospective student's personality and so they should be more on the alert when going on these discovery flights.

      Delete
  47. "stating the instructor could have done more, with all due respect you clearly haven’t a clue about timing and sequence, particularly disturbing if you teach others…."

    There is always another option! Due to the phase of flight and small window to recover, you could have omitted any communication and instantly responded with force when the passenger reached for the yoke.

    Also, curious what the SAFETY brief contained. You should always tell passengers sitting by the controls where the "oh shit" handle is. Otherwise, you will end up with your passenger grabbing the eject handle like the guy in France, or in this case the yoke.

    I hope you are not teaching people they don't have options. If so, you are just along for the ride and doomed from the start...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, you don't karate chop as your initial response.

      Situational context matters. The CFI was getting to the end of the session and had flown with and observed the student's demeanor and composure during the outing. It seems likely that the CFI had made the decision to let the student be on the stick going into the flare and CFI was safety following the inputs.

      You posted "in this case the yoke". Pipersport has sticks, not yokes. That is a "tell" in your post that helps readers gauge whether your "I hope you are not teaching people" schtick is from a basis of aviation experience.

      Delete
  48. This is going to ignite a firestorm, but I don't think that students should be allowed to be in the pilot's seat on a discovery flight. Having never done it before, they do not think about the fact that the pilot in the right seat can control the plane. They react because they ARE the pilot and believe they are the only ones who can avoid a problem. It is like driving a car; one cannot and does not rely on the passengers to drive carefully and avoid a crash. In turn, passengers do not think that they are in control because they aren't.

    The psychological factors at play are not given enough attention. They can be wowed by sitting in the right seat with plenty of time to get the feel of the controls, but without the psychological factors and risk of what happened here.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I am a working CFI and give discovery flights to prospective students at my flight school. They are an effective way for us to introduce flight training and to “sell” our services to the public. We conduct these flights as brief simulated lessons where the student gets to experience some control of the airplane and sample the interaction with the instructor. Before any discovery flight, our school assesses the client to try and ensure the interest is appropriate. We perform a basic safety briefing including positive exchange of controls and inform that the instructor will making the takeoff and landing. In my experience, we are trying to build trust during this process and assuring ourselves, as instructors, that this is a sincere person who would be safe to fly with. We assume the client is making a similar assessment of our personnel and aircraft before deciding to fly with us.

    During discovery flights you get a sense of a prospective students overall demeanor. Are they nervous, uncomfortable, or conversely over confident? You assess their communication skills and ability to perform after receiving basic instruction. They are, hopefully assessing me and deciding if I’m the right CFI prior to making a significant investment in pilot training. Over the years, I have had discovery flights that did not result in the student pursuing training with me, but I don’t recall any that scared me or made me feel uncomfortable. That is why this accident is so disturbing.

    In reading the reports and all the comments, it seems that this landing approach was entirely normal until for an unknown reason someone (or something) made a sudden extreme pitch control input that lasted long enough for one of the occupants to transmit comments on the radio. (I can’t imagine a mechanical or environmental anomaly that would have caused this). It also appears that the airplane rapidly reached an attitude at low level that was unrecoverable. I think it’s safe to conclude that the young instructor was not responsible for this act unless he was the victim of some sudden unexplained incapacitation. Nothing in his background or reputation would indicate he would intentionally cause an accident. So the question might be what possessed the discovery flight client to interfere with safe control of the airplane in such a manner? Was it some kind of panic reaction? Or was it the final act of a psychopath? Will we ever know? My sense is we should await the results of an investigation before drawing conclusions.

    Meanwhile, remain aware that life includes completely unexpected and sometimes highly dangerous events. These need consideration as we decide how we spend our time and make our living. That’s for sure. RIP

    ReplyDelete
  50. "his hands should NOT be on the control at all during this flight."

    I must have missed something. Are you saying that the prospective student sitting in the Pilot's seat must NOT put his hands on the control column? If this is true, then why isn't he in the right seat not doing the same thing? Like my analogy to cars, anybody in the driver's seat is going to think that they are the only one driving the car, therefore MUST take action if something goes wrong. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    ReplyDelete
  51. As a helicopter and fixed-wing insurance check pilot, I would say there are 2 possible scenarios but remember that low-altitude radical maneuvers are very problematic...
    1. The instructor didn't protect the controls and in a flair > 10 kts above stall. The prospective student (pax); who had been flying for about an hour, grabbed the yoke or whatever and pulled back causing a rapid climb, stall, and vertical FALL FROM LOW ALTITUDE.
    2. Doing a touch & go and climbing with power, student miscontrolled or grabbed the yoke and BAMB.
    Either way, CFI was PIC and had to explain to St. Peter why he did not retrain control of the AIRCRAFT...
    SLAT...

    ReplyDelete
  52. Just an FYI on pasting links, everything after that question mark is a tracking tag. The "clean" link without the tracking tag is:
    https://archive.liveatc.net/ksmo/KSMO3-Twr-Sep-08-2022-2300Z.mp3

    ReplyDelete
  53. Because computers and software are sufficiently sophisticated, it seems to me that there ought to be a cost effective way to keep the yoke from responding to a sudden increase in pitch that exceeds the angle of attack to produce a stall when near to the ground. I mean BAM!, locked out. There are so many stalls and spins with the same characteristics/parameters that impact the ground because there is not enough height to recover that prevention makes the most sense. Is there any normal flying where such a sudden steep angle is required? In other words, unless well above the ground, the yoke simply won’t respond.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Computers and software sufficiently sophisticated"? Yes. Cost effective? Maybe on an F-16 or a 777. On a GA aircraft? Absolutely not.

      Delete
    2. To try and answer your question: Most GA airplanes in use today, including the one in this accident have flight control systems that were originally conceived of in the early 20th century. They incorporate light weigh control surfaces actuated by cables with direct connection to the cockpit controls used by the pilot. Most have dual controls (left and right pilot stations) that have equal authority. These airplanes have to be capable of maneuverability and controllability at various airspeeds and flight attitudes. Their wings must be capable of an aerodynamic stall in order to land. These simple control systems tried and true for over 100 years allow that and are fundamental to GA airplane operations. So it is not viable to design automation that would restrict pilot input or control.

      Modern autopilots in GA airplanes are highly sophisticated and in some cases are capable of unassisted auto land. However, the concept you suggest of automation that would somehow prevent a sudden pitch input is not, to my knowledge, currently available or under consideration. Large airliners are designed with automation that prevent a pilot from dangerous control inputs but that technology is beyond the what is realistic for small airplanes.

      Rest assured that this accident was a rare occurrence and remember that the overwhelming majority of GA operations including discovery flights are carried out safely by careful pilots.

      Delete
    3. The Garmin GFC500/600 series automatically overrides control inputs that put the plane in undesirable or unsafe attitude but most flight school training GA planes are not equipped with these advanced autopilot systems.

      Delete
    4. Keep in mind that human muscle power applied to the Pipersport stick would have to be overcome by the servos if the aircraft was fitted with the "Blue Button" Garmin mitigation. Not gonna happen if stick isn't let go.

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  54. Great explanation! All things considered, the fact that it is such a rare occurrence makes the most sense. No significant operational changes were made after the Germanwings crash because pilot suicides in commercial airliners are so rare. Although they did enhance pilot screening procedures, it seems that unlike the United States the Europeans are still in limbo as to whether two pilots are required in the cockpit at all times.

    "The EASA task force - drawn from airlines, flight crews, doctors and aviation authorities - did not recommend changes to fortified cockpit doors that were specially strengthened after the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. But it endorsed a recent EASA recommendation that there should always be two people in the cockpit on European flights, vowing to evaluate the practice after one year. This rule was already in effect for long-haul routes out of Europe."

    https://learngerman.dw.com/en/aviation-experts-call-for-more-pilot-screening-after-germanwings-crash/a-18591656#

    What I never thought of is that computer advancements have been eliminating flight engineers who were responsible for monitoring the engines and systems of the aircraft.

    https://aerocorner.com/blog/why-do-airplanes-have-two-pilots/

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  55. With automation in control, a student could still press the disengagement button and pull back the stick to stall the plane on approach to flare. If aircraft automation is implemented so fully into the airframe market that even a Pipersport LSA has fully automated control thru flare with no disengagement option, you would no longer need students and CFI's.

    Catch22!

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    Replies
    1. To date , we still don't know name of passenger! Unusual for KatReport. Have a chance to look this person up and check their back ground!!

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    2. JACKSON NAZARIO
      January 31, 1994 - September 8, 2022
      (28 years )
      Case Number: 2022-09506
      Case Status: DEFERRED Pending Additional Investigation
      Body Status: RELEASED
      Gender: MALE
      Place of Death: AIRPORT
      Investigator: ARAUJO
      Deputy Medical Examiner: DR. GUCCIONE

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    3. Thanks For info. Need a police criminal and drug background check. Of course a mental background check would be hard to find or get........

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    4. @Gordie - If you do that kind of investigating, student was a photo study and journal participant of photographer Howard Schatz as he grew up, last entry made when he was 25. Maybe his journal entries that Schatz published (with consent given by the student at the time) will be of interest.
      https://howardschatz.com/jackson-nazario/
      https://howardschatz.com/about/general/

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  56. I personally knew the deceased student. He was neither suicidal nor a psychopath. He was a normal young man working on finding his place in the world.

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    1. His picture with the colored accoutrement doesn't bode well for normalcy but then again we live in a wokish all inclusive society. Just sayin'

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    2. The posted photo of Mr. Nazario was very odd. Surely a better one could have been found.

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    3. All that is missing is purple hair, and he works at Starbucks.

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    4. I knew it! Not surprised. Pax is exactly what I pictured in my head. Diversity truly is our strength!

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  57. Most people are pretty sure that it was a panic reaction, which makes the most sense.

    So why did a complete idiot say: "Need a police criminal and drug background check. Of course a mental background check would be hard to find or get...."

    I have ZERO tolerance for people who are incapable of thinking objectively.

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    Replies
    1. > "people are sure"
      Step back and ask yourself: If the CFI's family asked the state of California's investigators whether those checks were going to be made, should the state investigator call them idiots and say that the family members obviously are incapable of thinking objectively?

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    2. Why would you panic in the first place??? You're with a Certified Flight Instructor who you should assume knows how to land the plane far better than you could. If you're that nervous and fearful than maybe you shouldn't be in a cockpit. I've been with drivers that made me nervous but I didn't grab the steering wheel out of their hands.

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    3. Even though his profile and comments by someone who knew him personally and his GoFundMe photo point VERY far in the normal direction, exactly how would a police criminal record and background drug check help to determine the cause of the crash? They do autopsies if they can, but here there doesn't appear to be much left after the fire. Of course it makes no sense whatsoever to someone like you that everything appeared to be fine and dandy until the very movement the plane's nose suddenly pitched up.

      Got to steel myself for a BS response (nothing personal).

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    4. NTSB investigators will work the aviation details. State investigators have a different responsibility. State investigator online google searches will find the handwritten journal entries made by the student that were published online, since they were given to photographer Schatz with student's permission to post as public information.

      State investigator review of the the student's background and the first person statements about himself the student journaled is routine due diligence. No reason to regard those investigators as idiots. Their responsibility to perform an objective review doesn't include relying solely on interpretation of photos in costumes and online tributes. A comment flame war here won't change that.

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    5. I'm a multi-Instrumented rated pilot with 1500 hrs. You are not a pilot and are Anonymous. SMO is my home airport, where I soloed and did a lot of flight training. American Flyers and there A&P/ AI maintenance have a stellar reputation and safety record. Identify yourself, so we know your not TROLLING against the airport..........................

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    6. I have ZERO tolerance for people who are incapable of Knowing what they don't know! That passenger had a loose screw, and you too, hiding behind Anonymous.......

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  58. WHY DID HE GRAB THE STICK AND YANK BACK ON IT, (at the worst time) PROBABLY WITH ALL HIS STRENGH, AFTER TOLD TO NOT TOUCH "ANYTHING" AND WITH INSTRUCTOR YELLING TO "LET GO" ABOUT 5 TIMES!

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    1. The family of the young CFI who had his life ahead of him and had aspirations to become a commercial pilot deserves some answers that I don't see forthcoming so far.

      Of course, the assumption here is that the CFI is the one yelling "Let go!" I imagine voice analysis will be done as part of the investigation before the final report is released two years from now.

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    2. What evidence is there that he was told not to "touch anything"? There is no SOP for all discovery flights that say the student can't touch anything. Plenty of discovery flights allow it. Also, you might want to fix your caps lock key because it is stuck on.

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  59. Jackson Nazario = I would not give he/she a discovery flight. I treasure my life and family too much.

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  60. I totally Agree! The passenger looks weird in his posts! 25 to 30 is a popular age to commit "Suicide" ! All these psycho Wanna-Be People trying to leave a mark!!!

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