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Accident description
Last updated: 22 October 2017
Status:Final
Date:Wednesday 10 May 1989
Time:14:30
Type:Silhouette image of generic BE20 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Beechcraft 200 Super King Air
Operator:Mesa Airlines
Registration: N39YV
C/n / msn: BB-39
First flight: 1975
Total airframe hrs:10267
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-41
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Azusa, CA (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Ferry/positioning
Departure airport:Santa Monica Airport, CA (SMO/KSMO), United States of America
Destination airport:Farmington Municipal Airport, NM (FMN/KFMN), United States of America
Narrative:
Before the flight, the pilots of two Beechcraft 200 aircraft evaluated weather reports at a fixed base operation and made a computer weather inquiry. They departed Santa Monica Airport, CA (SMO), on a positioning flight to Farmington Municipal Airport, NM (FMN), without filing a flight plan. While en route, the lead aircraft was about 1 to 3 minutes ahead of the second aircraft. The second pilot reported they were at about 4500 ft msl as they neared mountains and the clouds were about 1000 ft above. As they continued eastward in a valley, the second pilot heard the lead pilot report he was 'going up.' This was the last known transmission from the lead aircraft. The second pilot continued his flight in VMC. Two days later, the lead aircraft was found, where it had crashed about 100 ft below the top of a 7400 ft mountain ridge. Impact occurred on a heading of about 030 deg. The mountain ridge was oriented on headings of 060 and 240 degrees.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "Improper in-flight planning/decision by the pilot, which resulted in has inadvertent flight into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) and subsequent collision with mountainous terrain. The weather and terrain conditions were considered to be related factors."

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 7 months
Accident number: LAX89FA192
Download report: Summary report

Sources:
» NTSB


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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Santa Monica Airport, CA to Farmington Municipal Airport, NM as the crow flies is 968 km (605 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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