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2-05 airplane crash

A Cessna 414A twin-engine aircraft, similar to the one pictured here, that was to be registered in Klamath County crashed on Sunday in Yorba Linda, Calif., killing five people including the pilot.

A twin-engine aircraft that crashed into several homes on Sunday in the Los Angeles suburb of Yorba Linda, killing five including the pilot, had local ties to the Klamath area, pending registration in Klamath Falls.

Around 1:53 p.m. on Sunday a Cessna 414A took off from Fullerton, Calif., bound for Minden, Nev. A few minutes after takeoff the aircraft began to break up in mid-air and crashed into a residential neighborhood in Yorba Linda, Calif., killing four people in a home as well as the pilot. Several other properties were damaged by fuel and debris.

The pilot has been identified as 75-year-old Antonio Pastini, a resident of Gardnerville, Nev., and a retired Chicago Police Officer, was an experienced pilot who held a current Commercial Pilot and multi-engine rating. He owned Kim Lee’s Sushi in Carson City, Nev.

Family visit

Pastini, who also went by the name Jordan Isaacson, had reportedly flown his aircraft to Orange County to visit family, and was returning home to Nevada when the aircraft crashed. According to witnesses, the airplane began to break apart in mid-air, causing fuel to ignite that then incinerated a home occupied by four residents. The victims have yet to be identified.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, Pastini purchased the aircraft on Dec. 21, 2017, registered in Chiloquin. At the time of the crash new registration was pending for the aircraft filed by KL Management LLC in Klamath Falls. No company titled KL Management LLC exists according to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office, but the registrant address of 5718 S. Sixth St. is the location of the Cagey Quilter – owned and operated by Debbie Pastini. A relative of Antonio Pastini’s, Debbie Pastini relocated to Klamath Falls from Carson City several years ago, bringing her quilting business with her to the Klamath Basin.

The pending registration application for the aircraft under KL Management LLC was reportedly filed on Oct. 31, 2018 according to FAA records. That registration filing has been listed as pending since Jan. 2.

The eight-seat Cessna 414A Chancellor twin-piston aircraft, registered by tail number N414RS, was built in 1981. It is unknown at the time of publication whether or not the aircraft was insured at the time of the crash due to the pending registration filing for KL Management, or if the pending registration lasting over a month invalidated its airworthiness certificate.

According to the OC Register, Pastini was visiting his daughter Julia Ackley in Southern California at the time of the crash. Ackley informed the OC Register that the aircraft had undergone engine maintenance within the past year. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has yet to file an accident report while the incident remains under investigation.

Video of crash

While the cause of the crash remains under investigation, 38-year veteran commercial pilot and flight instructor Robert Katz informed the Herald & News that, based on video evidence of the aircraft’s crash and subsequent crash scene, it is likely that one engine may have separated from the wing of the aircraft in-flight. Katz believes that an engine came apart in flight, and the resulting vibrations were so severe that it ripped itself from the engine mounts, compromised the structural integrity of the wing, and ignited the fuel tanks.

Video of the aircraft captured from the ground shows several identifiable flame bursts and explosions as the aircraft rapidly descended onto the Yorba Linda neighborhood. Further footage shows an engine in a home’s front patio with the propeller blades curled underneath the wing’s remnants, an indication according to Katz that the engine was still operating at the time of impact.

“A blade will curl when driven under power of the engine as it strikes something,” said Katz. “A prop that simply strikes the ground will not bend that way. Several videos show the aircraft coming apart in flight with trails of smoke and flame behind it – that tells me the engine separated in flight from the wing of the airplane and breached the fuel tank.”

According to Flight Aware, an aircraft flight plan tracking service, N414RS had not flown since a Jan. 14 flight from Fullerton to Minden, however Pastini may have chosen not to file a flight plan for his subsequent flights returning to Fullerton and Sunday’s departure bound for Minden.

Coincidentally, or perhaps as a flight plan filing error, an aircraft registered as N4RS also flew from the Fullerton Municipal Airport on Sunday around the approximate time of Pastini’s takeoff. N4RS is registered to Mark McWhirter, and N4RS reportedly landed safely an hour after takeoff.

Pastini at the time of the accident held a FAA-issued commercial pilot, airplane single-engine land, airplane multi-engine land, instrument airplane, and rotorcraft-helicopter rating.

email kliedtke@heraldandnews.com @kliedtkeHN

Staff reporter for the Herald and News.