3 PEOPLE KILLED WHEN SMALL PLANE CRASHES NEAR BIG BEAR AIRPORT (CA)

FPK1

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Three people were killed when a single-engine plane crashed near Big Bear Airport (L35 - elev 6,752 ft) Monday afternoon, authorities said.

The Beechcraft A36 plane crashed around 2 p.m., prompting a quick response from firefighters.

Images from the scene showed the plane with extensive damage. There was no smoke or flames at the crash site when crews arrived, according to the Big Bear Fire Department.

The fire department said all three people on board died in the crash.

https://fox5sandiego.com/news/california-news/3-killed-in-big-bear-plane-crash/

https://abc7.com/big-bear-plane-crash-3-people-killed-single-engine-crashes/13202219/

Minimal information at this time.
 
Would appear to be N2038Y based on the times. Came from Corona.
 

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Last ADSB rate of decent was -1500. Both wings snapped off. Damn.
 
The engine was torn from its mount and is on the ground next to the right side of the nose. That and the lack of a ground scar seems to indicate rotation on impact, consistent with a flat spin.

Looking at the missing wing sections and skin buckling on the remains of the left wing along with the impact damage on the leading edge of the left horizontal stabilizer, it has the hallmarks of a loss of control, airframe overstress, and structural failure.

But how the heck does that happen on a bright sunny 82° day with little wind?
 
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But how the heck does that happen on a bright sunny 82° day with little wind?

Density Altitude.

Big Bear is nasty in that it’s a tourist destination that also offers cheap fuel.

Many an unsuspecting pilot has loaded the family into a plane that flew up there just fine, and now is struggling with same family, full fuel and souvenirs.
 
Density Altitude.

Big Bear is nasty in that it’s a tourist destination that also offers cheap fuel.

Many an unsuspecting pilot has loaded the family into a plane that flew up there just fine, and now is struggling with same family, full fuel and souvenirs.
As they crashed on approach, they would have been at their lightest.
 
But how the heck does that happen on a bright sunny 82° day with little wind?

The wind gusting to 18 or 19 knots and interaction of the wind with the surrounding terrain may have played a role. The density altitude would have limited the ability of the plane to outclimb downdrafts, especially in the turns from downwind to base and final.

KL35 012115Z AUTO 22006G19KT 10SM CLR 13/M11 A2984 RMK AO2
KL35 012055Z AUTO 24011G18KT 10SM CLR 13/M13 A2984 RMK AO2
 
I have been there in those conditions.......in a P-Baron. I remember kinda not wanting to be there. But then, at least I had plenty of power.
 
The plane I got private pilot in was written off after another renter took it to either Big Bear or Mammoth, tried to depart on a summer afternoon and pancaked in. He had to hike something like 10 miles to call for help. Never could figure out what his thinking was, as that particular plane was anything but a great climber.

When I moved to Florida, one of our airpark neighbors cautioned me about the weather here. He noted that with the summer heat, density altitude can be 1200-1300’ and you have to take that into account. Hmm, so that would be like taking off from a few thousand feet below a lot of the fields we go to, got it, I’ll get the performance charts out.
 
There was a time when I departed Big Bear on Rwy 08 in a Cessna Cutlass in the summer with east winds. My initial plan was to turn downwind and climb over the lake, but when I saw how anemic the climb was, I decided that turning was not a great idea, so I continued more-or-less straight ahead to climb over a flattish area a little to the left of the extended centerline.
 
Gosh, scary, very capable airplane, RIP.
 
Every time I fly into L35, I approach near the dam on the far west side of the lake at 9500K and descend to pattern alt at 7,950. According to Flightaware, he passed over the ridge and descended at a high rate of speed. Red X shows final location. Looks possibly like an unstable approach/overshoot above structural limitations.

L35_3.jpg
 
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When I moved to Florida, one of our airpark neighbors cautioned me about the weather here. He noted that with the summer heat, density altitude can be 1200-1300’ and you have to take that into account. Hmm, so that would be like taking off from a few thousand feet below a lot of the fields we go to, got it, I’ll get the performance charts out.

:lol::lol::lol:

Current weather in Gallup, NM at time of this post.... temp 71f, D/A 8700.

When it starts getting hot, average daytime D/A is around 9500.

When I used to hang out at the airport, I would try to help flat-lander transients by asking performance questions about their plane. Some would figure out what I was doing and would check their D/A performance.

Some actually told me they don't need someone telling them how to fly their plane, then would take 5000 ft of the 7300 ft runway to get off the ground, and be 20-30 feet above the ground when passing the end of the runway. Scary to watch.
 
No fire/minimal fire. Hope he didn't push a low fuel situation trying to get to cheap gas. At 2 in the afternoon and with enough wind to just make it a little bouncy, it would have been an interesting ride. I fly in there a lot. Wouldn't have been too difficult with that plane's capabilities. Very sad. Condolences to everyone, especially those families of the pax who trusted the pilot.
 
He appeared to be making a left traffic pattern, but the wreckage is located about 1100 feet north of the final approach course, about 1/2 mile short of the runway threshold.
 
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Every time I fly into L35, I approach near the dam on the far west side of the lake at 9500K and descend to pattern alt at 7,950. According to Flightaware, he passed over the ridge and descended at a high rate of speed. Red X shows final location. Looks possibly like an unstable approach/overshoot above structural limitations.

View attachment 116991

I'm puzzled by the apparent inflight structural failure of the aircraft. That usually requires a quick couple thousand feet of altitude for the loss of control to build up enough speed to rip the wings off.
 
I'm puzzled by the apparent inflight structural failure of the aircraft. That usually requires a quick couple thousand feet of altitude for the loss of control to build up enough speed to rip the wings off.

I'm skeptical it was structural failure. The majority of the fuselage is intact and not substantially deformed from the cabin aft. That does not look like a high energy impact. The club doors even open normally.
Screenshot_20230502-230330.png Screenshot_20230502-230607.png
IMO looks more like an emergency landing that didn't quite work out, perhaps as a result of fuel exhaustion.
 
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When I used to hang out at the airport, I would try to help flat-lander transients by asking performance questions about their plane. Some would figure out what I was doing and would check their D/A performance.
Some actually told me they don't need someone telling them how to fly their plane, then would take 5000 ft of the 7300 ft runway to get off the ground, and be 20-30 feet above the ground when passing the end of the runway. Scary to watch.
I'd rather risk being told-off by someone instead of saying nothing and watching them sail off the runway and right into a mountain. And many flat-landers (like me) would take that advice well and appreciate it.
 
I'd rather risk being told-off by someone instead of saying nothing and watching them sail off the runway and right into a mountain. And many flat-landers (like me) would take that advice well and appreciate it.
When I went into Colorado Springs, I was really nervous. Coming from Florida, had no idea how my Decathlon would perform in high and dry as opposed to low and wet. I had never leaned for takeoff before, and was googling how to do it on the Uber ride to the airport. Would have been happy for a local to impart some wisdom.
 
I'm skeptical it was structural failure. The majority of the fuselage is intact and not substantially deformed from the cabin aft. That does not look like a high energy impact. The club doors even open normally.
View attachment 116999 View attachment 117000
IMO looks more like an emergency landing that didn't quite work out, perhaps as a result of fuel exhaustion.
I see three corners. Perhaps I’m missing something.
 
According to the Adsb returns he was doing 180+ knots at pattern altitude. What the heck happened?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 
According to the Adsb returns he was doing 180+ knots at pattern altitude. What the heck happened?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
While descending at 1500’ - 1000’ /min into the base leg?

Overshooting final and yanking the nose back around with the rudder?
 
While descending at 1500’ - 1000’ /min into the base leg?

Overshooting final and yanking the nose back around with the rudder?


This was my immediate thought when I looked at where the crash site was.
 
I see three corners. Perhaps I’m missing something.
The wing could have been removed by impact with an object on the ground, such as a tree or building. There is some debris visible a few dozen yards behind the aircraft.

In photos of crash sites resulting from structural failures or spins that I have seen, the aircraft usually pancakes into the ground with much more damage from the high energy impact.

Just guesses on my part, based solely on two photos. Surprised there aren't any man-on-the-street witness reports yet. Where is Kathryn's Report when you need/want it?
 
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You need to join the Florida Alpinist’s Association (FAA) and come along on one of our expeditions to ascend Mt Dora.

As a mountaineering challenge, that one is quite modest. However, getting to Florida's high point, the top of the Vehicle Assembly Building, is a daunting technical climb. Few succeed even in making the approach while hauling ropes and climbing racks.
 
As a mountaineering challenge, that one is quite modest. However, getting to Florida's high point, the top of the Vehicle Assembly Building, is a daunting technical climb. Few succeed even in making the approach while hauling ropes and climbing racks.


Well, the highest natural point on the peninsula is Iron Mountain (Bok Tower) at 295’, but Mt Dora is actually more challenging. The last Dora expedition I was on, our entire party made the summit but we lost 3 men on the descent when their wives dragged them into gift shops.

(I did know some folks who made a technical climb on Cinderella’s Castle back in the ‘80s. It was the only way to install strobe lights to make the castle twinkle during a night show.)
 
When transitioning the area, I make Big Bear a regular fuel stop. Not only is the fuel less expensive it costs less to obtain as Big Bear is closer to my cruising altitude.

The aircraft having a turbo is very helpful.
 
You don't have to leave over the lake, if you depart towards the east there's a flat meadow and a small valley then the desert floor opens up under you

This airport is do-able when using conservative margins and careful planning. A turbo helps, but I've been there in 160 hp Cessnas and PA-28-180/181

Too bad about this accident, never helps the whole "close the airpot!" thing
 
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