December 16, Anaheim Hills, Calif. / Piper Comanche


At about 1430 Pacific time, a Piper PA-24-250 crashed into several homes in Anaheim Hills following the in-flight separation of the left wing and horizontal stabilizer. The pilot and passenger were killed. The pilot was flying from Prescott, Ariz., to Orange County, Calif., and filed an IFR flight plan in flight near Palm Springs. The flight was level at 3,000 and cleared to intercept the localizer for the ILS approach to runway 19R at John Wayne when the controller noticed the airplane make an unusually hard right turn. The airplane then disappeared from radar. Debris from the airplane was strewn along a path about a quarter mile long. The first piece located in the path was a 6-foot section of the outboard left wing, including the wing tip, followed by the outboard three feet of the right horizontal stabilator. Pieces of the empennage, in addition to outboard sections of the left and right wings and ailerons, were strewn throughout the debris path.


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