January 2, 2013, Oceano, Calif., Luscombe 8A


At about 1605 Pacific time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Witnesses reported the airplane was circling and maneuvering at a low altitude around the beach area when they observed it ascend abruptly. At approximately 150-200 feet above the ground, the airplane appeared to stop, make a sharp turn and descend at an approximately 55 degree angle. The airplane appeared to start to level off when it impacted the top of a sand dune. Witnesses observed the airplane bounce before it went out of sight.


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