Thursday, January 28, 2016

Piper PA-24-260 Comanche, N9362P, Tango Romeo Aviation Enterprises LLC: Fatal accident occurred January 28, 2016 near Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (KSTS), Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California

Tango Romeo Aviation Enterprises LLC:

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA059
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, January 28, 2016 in Santa Rosa, CA
Aircraft: PIPER PA 24-260, registration: N9362P
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 28, 2016, about 1900 Pacific standard time, a Piper PA-24-260C, N9362P, was destroyed when it impacted terrain during an instrument landing system (ILS) approach into Charles M. Schulz Airport – Sonoma County Airport (STS), Santa Rosa, California. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Tango Charlie Aviation LLC as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 flight. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed about the time of the accident, and a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan was filed for the cross country flight. The personal flight departed Palm Springs International Airport (PSP), Palm Springs, California at 1535. 

According to witnesses, the pilot and his passenger flew from STS to PSP the day before the accident for an overnight stay. A fixed based operator topped off the airplane's fuel tanks as instructed by the pilot who anticipated an afternoon departure the following day. On the day of the accident, the pilot filed a VFR flight plan and then departed for STS with VFR flight following. He obtained an instrument flight rules clearance from air traffic control about 46 nautical miles from his destination, and was subsequently cleared to an approach fix on the ILS approach to runway 32 at STS. According to preliminary radar data, the airplane was not established on the localizer until it reached the final approach fix. The pilot was transferred to a STS tower controller about 4 nautical miles from the airport, who then cleared the pilot to land on runway 32. The airplane was observed on the tower radar display drifting to the right of the localizer, and then disappeared off radar at approximately 400 feet mean sea level. The pilot did not make any further radio calls after he acknowledged the tower controller's landing clearance. 

The airplane impacted a grass field about 2 nautical miles south of STS. All four corners of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site. An initial impact point (IIP) was identified by fragments from the left wing and the red position light that spanned about 2 feet in length. The main wreckage was located in the debris path about 133 feet from the IIP beyond an intermediate impact crater and was oriented on a 306 degree magnetic heading. Portions of the left wing, including two breached fuel tanks, came to rest about 40 feet south of the main wreckage. The empennage was inverted, but remained intact with some skin deformation to the vertical stabilizer, rudder and stabilator. 

The main wreckage was comprised of the cockpit, right wing, a portion of the left wing, and engine. The rudder, aileron and stabilator cables were traced from the cockpit to their respective control surfaces. The right wing auxiliary fuel tank contained about 8 gallons of blue colored fuel with an odor that resembled 100 LL aviation grade gasoline. A fuel line had broken free from the right main fuel tank, which was not breached. Both propeller blades exhibited aft bending, chordwise scratches, and gouges along the leading edges of the blades. 

The 1900 recorded weather observation at STS included winds calm, visibility 2.5 statute miles, an overcast cloud layer at 400 feet, temperature 12 degrees C, dew point 12 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.20 inches of mercury.

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Don Mackenzie

 Pacific Coast Air Museum

Marsha Gastwirth
 Wine Trail Escapes

SONOMA COUNTY (BCN) — The National Transportation Safety Board expects to remove the wreckage on Saturday of a Piper PA-24-260 Comanche plane that crashed Thursday evening in a pasture south of the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport.

NTSB air safety investigator Stephen Stein said the wreckage of the Piper PA-24-260 Comanchee will be transported to Sacramento for a preliminary report about the fatal crash that killed a male pilot and a woman. The report should take five to 10 days, Stein said.

The   Piper PA-24-260 Comanche plane went down around 7 p.m. near Wood Ranch Road at Wood Road a half-mile to a mile away from Runway 32. The plane left Palm Springs International Airport for a direct flight to Santa Rosa, Stein said.

Jonathan Stout, manager of the Sonoma County airport, said the plane was within the normal landing path and not off course. There were clouds at 900 feet above ground level and the pilot was using instrumentation, Stout said.

The tower at the airport is in operation 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Stout said.

Stein said the plane was registered to Tango Romeo Aviation in Sebastopol and was based at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport. The crash left a crater and small debris field, and the plane was substantially damaged, Stein said.

The left wing separated from the fuselage on impact, Stein said.

One of the deceased was found about 20 feet from the plane and the other was with the wreckage, Stein said.

The pilot communicated with the Oakland air traffic control center in Oakland and with the tower at the Sonoma County airport, Stein said. Stein said he did not know if the pilot gave a distress signal.

Stout said there are 82,000 take offs and landings a year at the airport and 385 commercial, private, corporate and charter aircraft are based there.

Alaska Airlines flies to Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland and San Diego out of the Sonoma County airport. Service to Orange County is scheduled to start in March.

SANTA ROSA (KRON) — Two people are dead after their plane crashed in Santa Rosa Thursday night. 

Sonoma County dispatch got a call about the crash just before 7 p.m. The plane was a single-engine Piper PA-24, according to FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.

The crash happened near Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport. The plane had departed from Palm Springs and was on its way to Santa Rosa, Gregor said.

It is not known if the plane was leaving or approaching any area airports. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

The FAA and NTSB will investigate the crash. The victims have not been identified.

No other information is immediately available.

Story and video:

Two people died after a small plane they were in crashed late Thursday near Santa Rosa, officials said. 

The plane, a single-engine Piper PA-24, had departed from Palm Springs for Santa Rosa, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

The plane crashed on final approach to Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, according to Gregor. The crash was reported around 7 p.m. in the area of Wood Road and Wood Ranch Road in unincorporated Santa Rosa, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.

The crash came close to Eric Morris' home.

"There was no fire, but a little bit of smoke coming off of the rear of the airplane, or what was left of it anyway," Morris said.

Morris said he did not notice anything unusual around the time of the crash.

The area where the plane crashed is somewhat rural and about two miles south of the Charles M. Schulz airport in Santa Rosa. The pilot and passenger were pronounced deceased at the scene, according to the sheriff's office.

It was not immediately known what caused the plane to crash. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the incident.

No other information was immediately available.

Story and video:

Two people in a small plane died Thursday night in Santa Rosa after the aircraft crashed “under unknown circumstances,” officials said.

A single-engine Piper PA-24 that departed from Palm Springs was on a final approach to Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport when it crashed, said Ian Gregor, an Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office first received reports of the crash around 7 p.m., said Lt. Tim Duke. 

The plane wreckage was found in a pasture near Wood Road in Santa Rosa. 

Two people appeared to have been ejected from the plane, Duke said.

Officials are monitoring the crash site. 

The degree of debris made it hard to determine the sex of the deceased, Duke said.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident. No further details were immediately available.


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