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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 184266
Last updated: 27 September 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic BE35 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Beechcraft M35 Bonanza
Registration: N9872R
MSN: D-6425
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Pacific Ocean off Cabrillo Beach, Long Beach, CA -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Camarillo, CA (CMA)
Destination airport:Torrance, CA (TOA)
Investigating agency: NTSB
A private pilot and a pilot-rated passenger were on a personal cross-county flight in a Beechcraft M35, and a private pilot was on a local personal flight in a Bellanca 8KCAB when the airplanes collided in mid-air over an ocean harbor. Before the collision, the Beechcraft, a low-wing airplane, was descending from 3,500 ft, and flying in an east-northeast direction. The Bellanca, a high-wing airplane, was flying toward the sun in a west-northwest direction with intermittent radar returns between 3,000 and 3,500 ft.

Radar data showed the tracks of both airplanes converge with the airplanes approaching each other nearly head-on. The last radar return from the Beechcraft, just before the collision, was at 3,300 ft. Following the collision, both airplanes descended, impacted the ocean, and sank.

Postaccident examination of the recovered wreckage of both airplanes revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of either airplane. Postaccident examination did not identify any paint transfer marks on the airframe of either airplanes; however, not all the parts of the airplanes were recovered.

Ethanol was found in the tissues of each pilot, however, it is most likely that the ethanol was the result of post mortem production. Diphenhydramine, which can cause drowsiness and slow psychomotor reaction time, was detected in the Bellanca pilot's tissue; however, the lack of a blood sample precluded determination of the level of the drug present, and it could not be determined whether the Bellanca pilot was impaired by the effects of diphenhydramine.

All three pilots had a limitation on their Federal Aviation Administration medical certificates for eyeglasses; but two, the Beech pilot-rated passenger and the Bellanca pilot, only required them for near vision, which was not a factor in this accident. The Bellanca pilot had had cataract surgery on both eyes more than a year before the accident; this would be expected to significantly improve her vision and, therefore, likely did not contribute to the accident. Overall, it is unlikely that any problem with distant vision in any of the three pilots contributed to the accident.

It could not be determined why the Beechcraft pilot did not see the Bellanca. The Bellanca pilot was flying toward the sun, and sun glare could have contributed to her inability to see the approaching Beechcraft.

Probable Cause: The failure of the pilots of both airplanes to see and avoid each other as they converged nearly head-on, which resulted in a midair collision. Contributing to the accident was the effect of sun glare on the other pilot.


FAA register:

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 2 months
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

06-Feb-2016 15:19 Aerossurance Added
06-Feb-2016 16:10 Geno Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Departure airport, Source]
08-Feb-2016 17:56 Geno Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Phase, Destination airport, Source]
21-Dec-2016 19:30 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
16-Apr-2018 19:29 ASN Update Bot Updated [Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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