On June 3, 2001, sometime after 1932 hours Pacific daylight time (PDT), a Piper PA-28-181, N8253W, became missing in the vicinity of Lytle Creek, California, on a flight from Perris Valley to Laverne, California. The airplane departed Perris Valley Airport at 1915 en route to Brackett Field in Laverne. Air Desert Pacific operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91, and rented it to the pilot for a personal flight. The operator reported the airplane was overdue on June 6 and the airplane had not been located as of June 14. The private pilot, the sole occupant, is missing. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The flight originated from Brackett Field on the day of the accident. The operator reported that a dispatcher released the airplane to the pilot about 1500. The pilot told the dispatcher that he would be going to Perris Valley to skydive and return later that night. He said if he were unable to land at Brackett, he would probably land at Cable Airport in Upland, California.
The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) initiated mission number 01M1200A, and the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) organized a search. A CAP officer summarized the mission accomplishments.
Witnesses from the skydiving business reported that they observed the pilot board the airplane and depart from Perris about 1915. March Air Force Base air traffic control reported that a pilot checked in and identified his airplane as N8253W and requested flight following. The controllers assigned the airplane a discrete beacon code of 0146 and followed the airplane through their airspace. SOCAL TRACON could not accommodate the pilot with flight following so March controllers instructed the pilot to squawk 1200, proceed VFR, and try to establish contact with SOCAL.
About 5 minutes later, N8253W established contact with SOCAL TRACON and they assigned a discrete beacon code of 0274.
A review of recorded radar data illustrated that the airplane track proceeded along a northerly heading over San Bernardino, and then turned toward the west. SOCAL informed the pilot that they would be losing radar contact soon and advised the pilot to proceed VFR. The pilot responded that he was 17 to 18 miles from Brackett. No further transmissions were received from the airplane.
The corrected mode C reported altitude remained steady at 2,500 feet msl until the target initiated a climb to 2,900 feet about 1 1/2 minutes prior to loss of radar contact.
The beacon code remained on 0274 until the last secondary beacon target at 34 degrees 11 minutes 42 seconds north latitude and 117 degrees 26 minutes 43 seconds west longitude. This location is in the mouth of a canyon that leads to Lytle Creek. This target displayed a corrected mode C reported altitude of 2,900 feet at 1931:47.
A routine aviation weather report (METAR) was issued for Brackett Field at 1847 PDT. It reported: skies overcast at 2,500 feet; wind 240 at 7 knots; visibility 7 statute miles; and altimeter 29.80 inHg.
A METAR was issued for Brackett Field at 1947 PDT. It reported: skies overcast at 2,400 feet; wind 250 at 8 knots; visibility 7 statute miles; and altimeter 29.78 inHg.
A METAR was issued for the airport at Riverside, California, at 1953 PDT. It reported: scattered clouds at 4,400 feet; wind 290 at 9 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; temperature 64 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 54 degrees; and altimeter 29.75 InHg.
A METAR was issued for the airport at Ontario, California, at 1953 PDT. It stated: skies broken at 2,800 feet and 4,500 feet; wind 250 degrees at 8 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; temperature 63 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 55 degrees; and altimeter 29.76 InHg.