Dec. 12, Lancaster, Calif. / Cessna Skylane


At 10:00 Pacific time, a Cessna 182P descended into flat desert terrain near the Fox Field Airport as the airplane was maneuvering to enter the traffic pattern, killing the pilot. The pilot called the tower and reported about 7 or 8 miles northwest of the airport at 8,500 feet msl inbound for landing. The controller asked the pilot if he could descend from that altitude. The pilot replied that he would do his rock descent. He was then cleared to crossover the airport at midfield for a left downwind entry to runway 24. Radar data showed the airplane with a groundspeed that varied between 160 and 200 knots and a descent rate of 800 feet in 12 seconds.


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