Monday, March 21, 2016

Airborne XT-912, Pacific Blue Air Inc., N670EM: Fatal accident occurred March 21, 2016 at Hawthorne Municipal Airport (KHHR), Los Angeles County, California

Pacific Blue Air Inc: 

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA El Segundo (Los Angeles) FSDO-23

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA086
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, March 21, 2016 in Hawthorne, CA
Aircraft: AIRBORNE XT 912, registration: N670EM
Injuries: 1 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 March 21, 2016 about 1201 Pacific daylight time, an Airborne XT912 weight shift control (WSC) special light sport aircraft, N670EM, was destroyed when it impacted a fence and a roadway shortly after takeoff from Northrop/Hawthorne Municipal Airport (HHR), Hawthorne, California. The student pilot received fatal injuries. The aircraft was owned and operated by Pacific Blue Air of Venice, California, and was based at HHR. The instructional flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight.

According to multiple witnesses, the aircraft initiated its takeoff roll from HHR runway 25, at a point prior to the displaced threshold. Just after liftoff, the aircraft began to bank and turn right, and continued to do so until its flight track was approximately perpendicular to the runway heading. The aircraft initially climbed, but then descended, and struck a fence and then a 4-lane road about 220 feet north of the runway centerline, and about 1,400 feet from the start of the takeoff roll. Witness estimates of the maximum altitude ranged between 40 and about 200 feet, and their maximum bank angle estimates ranged between 45 and 90 degrees. All witnesses reported that the engine rpm increased during the flight, and that the engine continued to run at least until impact.

The aircraft came to rest at the north edge of the road, and a fire began immediately. The impact site was adjacent to a water-pumping work crew, and they immediately began applying water to extinguish the fire. Airport and other rescue and fire-fighting personnel and equipment arrived within 5 minutes of the accident. The pilot was extracted from the wreckage and transported to a hospital. The wreckage was examined and documented on scene by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NTSB personnel, and transported to a secure facility for additional examination.

The pilot held an FAA student pilot certificate that was issued in May 2014. Review of her pilot's logbook indicated that her first flight was conducted in October 2013, and that she flew about 2 to 3 times per month thereafter. All of her recorded flight time in the logbook was for WSC aircraft. All of the flight time through June 2015 was in an Evolution Revo aircraft that was also owned by Pacific Blue Air. Her first flight in the accident aircraft was on June 8, 2015, as were all her subsequent flights. The logbook indicated that the pilot had accrued about 38 hours in the Revo, and about 21 hours in the accident aircraft. The pilot's first solo flight was accomplished on November 2, 2015. The logbook listed 8 solo flights, with a total flight time of about 7 hours. Her most recent flight, which was a cross-country solo, took place on March 16, 2016.

FAA information indicated that the aircraft was manufactured in 2007, and was equipped with a Rotax 912 series engine. According to the owner, the aircraft was acquired about a year prior, and was equipped with an "SST" model wing. The owner reported that the airframe and engine had accumulated a total time in service of about 500 hours.

The 1153 HHR automated weather observation included calm winds, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 19 degrees C, dew point 11 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.12 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

Erin Storm, a contestant on season 12 of The Bachelor and a pilot, died in a plane crash in Los Angeles on Monday, March 21, multiple outlets are reporting. Storm competed on Matt Grant’s season of the hit ABC reality dating show in 2008.

According to the reports, Storm was flying an  Airborne XT-912 aircraft and crashed soon after taking off from the Hawthorne Municipal Airport.

Byron Mayes, a Best Drilling and Pump, Inc. employee who was working on a tank near the airport, told NBC that he witnessed the crash. 

"All of a sudden, my partner started yelling, 'Watch out, there's a plane coming!' and it looked like the plane veered up, lost control and hit a couple feet away from the truck, a couple feet away from us," Mayes said.

Mayes told NBC that he and his coworkers ran over to the burning plane and pulled Storm out of the aircraft. According to NBC, Storm’s legs were on fire, and she was in cardiac arrest when rescue crews arrived; after she was transported to a trauma center, she was pronounced dead.

Storm worked as a pilot for Pacific Blue Air, an aircraft training facility based at Hawthorne Airport. According to witnesses, Storm was dressed in a blue Pacific Blue Air jumpsuit for her final flight.

The Venice, California, resident was eliminated during week 3 of British Bachelor Grant’s season, in which reality star Shayne Lamas coveted the final rose. At the time, Storm’s occupation was listed as a “hot dog vendor.”

Our thoughts go out to her friends and family. 

Original article can be found here:

A female pilot who was pulled unconscious from her burning aircraft after the small plane crashed near Hawthorne airport Monday afternoon later died, according to police.

The crash was reported shortly after noon in the 3600 block of 120th Street, just south of the 105 Freeway, according to Capt. Keith Mora of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

A crew working on a private well project nearby saw the plane coming toward where their truck was parked.

"My partner just started yelling, 'There's a plane coming, a plane coming,'" said witness Byron Mayes. "It looked like the plane just veered up, lost control and hit a couple feet away from the truck, a couple feet away from us."

Three workers rushed to the wreckage, finding the pilot unconscious, with her legs burning. Fire spread to their work truck and up hoses they were using, Mayes said.

"Our first thought was getting her out, making sure she was OK," he said.

Responding firefighters were able to halt the flames, and paramedics performed "life-saving measures" and took the pilot to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

The unidentified pilot did not survive the crash, the Hawthorne Police Department posted on its Facebook page.

The small aircraft -- a light-sport, weight-shift-control plane -- was departing Hawthorne Municipal Airport when it crashed, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The Airborne XT-912 had only the one person on board, the FAA spokesman said.

Aerial video showed the wreckage was significant and the plane was in pieces.

Meanwhile, a police vehicle crashed near 119th Street and Prairie Avenue, a few blocks west of the plane crash. The black-and-white police SUV appeared to have collided with another SUV.   The officer was responding to the report of the plane down when he was involved in a crash, a Hawthorne Police Department official said.

Story and video:

HAWTHORNE ( — An ultralight aircraft crashed and burst into flames after taking off from Hawthorne Municipal Airport Monday.

Byron Mayes and his coworkers with Best Drilling and Pump were working on a well on West 120th Street around noon when the plane was plunging about a quarter-mile off the west end of the airport.

The 18-year-old said he was only a few feet away from being struck by the falling aircraft.

“It kind of went straight up and just veered right. And as soon as it veered right, my partner started yelling: ‘Oh! Watch out. Watch out. There’s a plane.'”

“Next thing I knew the plane was coming straight at me. So I ran out of the way,” Mayes said. “As soon as the plane hit the curb, it blew up. And the flames just kept getting bigger and bigger.”

He and his coworkers rushed to pull the female pilot out of the burning wreckage. “We pulled her out of the plane before we even got to the fire extinguisher,” Mayes said. “Her legs were on fire. That’s when my partner ran in and pulled her out.”

The pilot was rushed to a hospital in full cardiac arrest. “We checked her pulse, and sadly to say there was no pulse at first. But the paramedics were doing as best as they could to keep her breathing,” Mayes added.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor confirmed the aircraft was an Airborne XT-912 – a light-sport, weight-shift-control plane.

Mayes said the pilot was wearing a blue jumpsuit, which is the kind worn by pilots who work for Pacific Blue Air. It is the only business that operates the Airborne XT-912 at the Hawthorne Airport.

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