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July 2, 2017

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Cessna 310 Crashes on 405 Freeway

July 2, 2017


A twin-engine Cessna 310 suffered an apparent engine loss of power less than one minute following take-off from John Wayne Airport in Orange County.  The pilot was attempting a turn back to the airport when he came up short,   crashing  on the South-bound I-405 Freeway.  The pilot can be heard declaring a mayday emergency call on the audio taped transcripts.   He The two occupants (a male pilot and female passenger),  were extricated from the burning aircraft by a passerby who happened to be a fireman.






The story, with video and pictures can be viewed at


The plane remained on the freeway for hours while investigators viewed the wreckage in their search for the cause of the crash.  Certainly possible causes to be considered would include:

1.  Possible Improper fueling --  Sometimes jet fuel is accidentally put into an aircraft] instead of Aviation 100LL fuel)

2. Possible mechanical failure of an engine component.

3. Possible Improper pilot operation of the aircraft engine,  aircraft systems.  or fueling system.

4. Possible improper flying by the pilot - possibly turning right to return to the airport where flying straight or turning left might have improved the chances of a successful landing.  It should be noted that some twin engine aircraft will not fly well with only one engine operating.  Typical advice in the event of an engine failure calls for turning in the direction of the good running engine to maintain better control of the plane.  It is speculation at this point,  but possibly the pilot could have maintained altitude or climbed better if he had used his prerogative as pilot in command to make left turns.  The aircraft may have suffered an aerodynamic stall as it turned toward the airport.  This would have caused loss of lift from the wings,  causing the aircraft to sink or mush into the freeway instead of flying further to the runway which was just southwest of the freeway. 

5. Possible failure of the ATC (Air Traffic Controller) to give appropriate instructions after the pilot declared an emergency Mayday call.  The controller told the pilot to make right turns to come back to the airport. 

These are only possible explanations, but there are often many factors including, pilot medical problems, stress, lack of training or recent experience,  failure to properly maintain an aircraft etc.  I will follow up as the investigation continues, because this crash seems to have far more interest in our Southern California community than many other aircraft crash incidents.






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