A student pilot mortally injured in a flaming airplane crash in Hemet announced that his engine had shut down just before the accident, leading to an emergency landing attempt, resulting in the single-engined plane being stuck on a road. and fell into a retaining wall. to a federal report released Wednesday, June 15.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary findings on the June 7 accident near Hemet-Ryan Airport pointed to a loss of power during a touch-and-go maneuver, as well as the aviator’s unsuccessful forced landing, behind what happened. There were obvious factors.
Federal investigators said the victim, whose identity has not been released, flew the low-wing Beechcraft 77 Skipper Solo from Redlands Municipal Airport to Hemmett-Ryan Airport – about 20 miles – that morning after running a series of touch-and-goes. For. Touch-and-go maneuvers involve landing an aircraft on a runway and taking off again without coming to a complete stop.
The student pilot’s plans were approved by his instructor, whose identity was not disclosed. The owner of the plane was identified in records from the Federal Aviation Administration as Joseph Scarsella, which operates Scarsella Aviation Corp. in the Redlands.
According to the NTSB, this was Hemet-Ryan’s second solo visit to the victim. Witnesses said he was using runway 23 and completed two touch-and-goes, but at around 9:30, he executed a missed approach for unknown reasons.
An eyewitness told the NTSB that the airman “did not fall down on the runway and remained about 30 feet above ground level.”
“Shortly after, a distress call was broadcast on the (airport) frequency, ‘I am declaring an emergency, loss of power,'” the report said. “The witness recalled that the airplane took a left turn and touched the soft dirt surface of a plowed vegetation area.”
Investigators identified markings indicating that the two-seater Beech sprung twice on a dirt field south of the airport and at one point rolled 660 feet into the dirt, steering to the right. The airplane then crossed Warren Road and hit a cinder block wall behind a residence at Warren and Mustang Way.
According to the NTSB, “the airplane’s engine, cabin, left wing route and right wing ruptured the retaining wall and sustained thermal damage.”
The plane was loaded with avgas in both wings, and that fuel ignited in the crash.
According to officials, Hemmett Fire Department and Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire personnel arrived at the location within minutes and found the fire using a garden hose in an attempt to stop the flames from spreading to their residence.
The pilot was pulled from the plane and taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center for treatment for extensive burns and other injuries, which did not recover. There was no word from the authorities specifically when he succumbed to the injuries.
Firefighters brought the fire under control within a few minutes. The house was not damaged by the fire.
Hemet-Ryan Airport, which is county-owned, serves as a Cal Fire airstrikes base, with crews out of place year-round. It is also a popular recreational airport, with general aviation enthusiasts in and out of the location daily. Glider activity is also common there.
The NTSB’s final report on the accident may not be released for another two years.