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Last updated: 21 October 2019
Date:Friday 1 August 1997
Type:Silhouette image of generic CAT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Canadian Vickers PBV-1A Canso A (PBY-5A)
Operator:Airborne Fire Attack
Registration: N322FA
C/n / msn: CV-560 
First flight:
Total airframe hrs:17427
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:San Vincente Reservoir, CA (   United States of America)
Phase: Maneuvering (MNV)
Nature:Fire fighting
Departure airport:Santa Ana-John Wayne International Airport, CA (SNA/KSNA), United States of America
Destination airport:Santa Ana-John Wayne International Airport, CA (SNA/KSNA), United States of America
The pilot had returned to the San Vicente reservoir after his third water bombing run and was in the process of scooping another load of water. The speed at touchdown was between 70 and 75 knots, with a left quartering tailwind blowing from 3 to 5 knots. After touching down, the aircraft had been on the water about 2 to 3 seconds when the pilot began to advance the throttle to takeoff power. The aircraft pitched forward from 3 degrees nose up until it reached about a 1-degree nose up attitude. As the pitch changed, he increased back pressure on the elevator control. The pilot said that about that time the aircraft encountered an approaching gust of wind that was visible on the surface of the water. The nose of the aircraft began to bowsuck and the cockpit floor split open and water began rushing into the cockpit between both crewmembers.
The wreckage is now stored at the Riverside-March Air Museum.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The implosion of the unlocked left nose gear door which resulted in the hydraulic disintegration of the forward fuselage. The cause of the locking pin actuator malfunction was not determine"

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 10 months
Accident number: LAX97LA270
Download report: Summary report



photo of Consolidated-PBY-5A Catalina-N322FA 
accident date: 01-08-1997
type: Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina
registration: N322FA 


This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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