As the clean-up efforts continue in a residential neighborhood in the Los Angeles suburb of Yorba Linda, following a deadly airplane crash on Sunday, unanswered questions remain over the pilot and aircraft, both with apparent local ties to Klamath County.
A Cessna 414A Chancellor twin-engine aircraft built in 1981, designated as N414RS by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), took off from the Fullerton Municipal Airport around 1:35 p.m. on Sunday bound for Minden, Nev. The pilot was 75-year old Antonio Pastini, a Nevada resident and experienced pilot who had been visiting his daughter, Julia Ackley, in Orange County.
The aircraft broke up in mid-air 10 minutes after takeoff, spilling fuel and aircraft parts across a neighborhood that resulted in one home being incinerated with four victims inside, as well as the death of the pilot.
In the wake of the accident, several oddities have emerged, as well as local ties for both the pilot and aircraft to Klamath County. Pastini, who reportedly was born Jordan Isaacson, and went by the nickname “Ike,” was a restaurant owner in the Carson City, Nev., area.
Ties to Chicago police questioned
He claimed to have been a Chicago police officer for 21 years before retiring and moving west to enter the restaurant industry, and in the initial press conference following the crash the Orange County Sheriff’s Department announced Pastini was a retired Chicago officer based on a badge and paperwork found in the cockpit of the aircraft.
On Monday, Officer Michelle Tannehill, spokesperson for Chicago Police Department, announced that no records were found indicating Antonio Pastini or Jordan Isaacson was ever affiliated with the department. The badge number Pastini had in his possession had been reported lost in 1978.
While Pastini served in the military, it is unclear at this time if he ever was a police officer, despite representing himself as one repeatedly on social media and through interviews about his restaurants.
An article published by the Nevada Appeal in 2008 stated that Pastini had joined the Chicago PD as a patrolman and served 21 years, and moved to northern Nevada after retirement to begin opening restaurants. Pastini also served as a food safety instructor, according to the Nevada state website. Pastini boasted that his restaurants became “the cop hangout” around Carson City.
Aircraft registered in Chiloquin
An experienced pilot, Pastini held FAA certification ratings for single-engine, multi-engine and rotorcraft aircraft. FAA registration history indicates that the aircraft was purchased by Pastini on Dec. 21, 2017 from Air 20 Corp., which had registered the airplane in Gardnerville, Nev. since 2014, where Pastini resided. However, Pastini, for reasons yet to be verified by the FAA, registered the aircraft in Chiloquin.
Previous registration indicates the aircraft was owned by Carman Law Office PC in Billings, Mont., prior to Air 20 Corp., and had been based in Las Vegas, Nev. from 2006-2009 with Silver State Helicopters LLC.
The Oregon State Airports Manager in Salem, Matthew Maass, indicated that as an uncontrolled airport there is no on-site airport manager for Chiloquin who could verify whether the aircraft had indeed been stored in Klamath County per its 2017 registration.
At the time of the crash new registration of the aircraft was pending, filed on Oct. 31, 2018, and listed as pending per FAA approval as of Jan. 2. Registration filings list a company titled KL Management LLC assuming ownership of the aircraft.
The address posted for KL Management is 5718 S. 6th St. in Klamath Falls, site of the Cagey Quilter, owned and operated by Debbie Pastini since 2014. The Oregon Secretary of State’s Office shows no record of KL Management LLC existing, however proper business filings for it may still be pending with state offices.
Debbie Pastini could not be reached to verify the status of KL Management at the time of publication. A sign at the Cagey Quilter reads, “Closed due to family emergency. We hope to reopen on Feb. 12.”
It is common for aircraft to be stored out-of-state, or listed as an out-of-state registry, for tax purposes. An aircraft needs only to be stored in Oregon for 30 days before being eligible for FAA registration, thereafter Pastini could have kept his airplane in Nevada while maintaining Oregon registration.
When an aircraft is sold a temporary aircraft registration is issued, good for 120 days; however these often extend beyond that timeline, particular in the wake of a government shutdown.
Ackley was interviewed on Tuesday by television station KABC regarding her father, but declined to respond to questions about Pastini’s claim to be a retired police officer. It also remains unclear why Jordan Isaacson claimed the name Atonio Pastini. She did, however, indicate that Pastini was an experienced pilot, and that she had flown in the aircraft many times with him.
“I would prefer not to comment and let investigators do their job,” Ackley said. “My father is exactly who he said he was.”
NTSB report pending
Chicago Police Department announced that they were not investigating possible fraud charges against Pastini for posing as a law enforcement officer, since he died in the aircraft accident on Sunday.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has yet to issue a public report on Sunday’s accident. In an interview with the Associated Press, NTSB Safety Board Investigator Maja Smith stated that witnesses described the aircraft coming out of a cloud and its tail and other parts breaking off as it rapidly descended.
Several videos taken from the ground of the aircraft in its final moments confirm this, with large bursts of flame and debris visible as the aircraft rapidly descended. Further video evidence of debris on the ground provides insight into what may have caused the Cessna 414A to break apart.
“The videos emerging suggest that one of the engines of the aircraft came apart in flight, created an imbalance and the vibrations were so severe that it ripped itself from the motor mounts and compromised the wing,” said Robert Katz, a veteran commercial pilot and flight instructor for 38 years.
“The videos tell me that the engine separated in-flight from the wing of the airplane, and breached the fuel tank because fuel was igniting in-flight. That is what caused it to incinerate the house on the ground, a 414A carries about 200 gallons of fuel and it would take a lot plus an igniter to burn that house the way it did.”