Likely Due to Pilot Error, Experts
By Jorge Casuso
September 5 -- An airplane
crash last week that killed six Santa
Monica residents near the Kern Valley
Airport was likely due to a pilot
error and not a mechanical failure,
according to aviation experts.
An investigator with the National Transportation
Safety Board (NTSB) said the pilot, Santa Monica
developer Adam Pasori, made two unusual turns
as he prepared to land Friday evening, possibly
reacting to wind conditions.
Although the agency will not release a preliminary
report for several days and a final report for
at least nine months, a description of the pilot’s
maneuvers, the excessive weight reported on the
plane and the hot weather may have caused the
crash, a local pilot told The Lookout.
“It was unlikely that it was the engine
that stalled, and there was likely no mechanical
failure,” said Robert Chandler, a Santa
Monica-based pilot who has four decades of flying
“What is much more probable is the wing
stalled, meaning not any kind of mechanical failure,
but an aerodynamic stall caused by the way the
aircraft was being flown,” Chandler said.
“This is a very common accident under such
Chandler’s scenario is bolstered by statements
from Jeltje Nelson, who manages the airport for
Kern County with her husband Eugene.
Nelson told a Los Angeles Times reporter
that she saw the plane approach the
runway, but heard no sounds of engine
"He was too high, and when he got a little
way farther above the runway, he made a banking
left turn to the west," Nelson was quoted
in the Times.
"I turned my back and thought I'd talk to
him on the (radio) about what the wind was doing,
and then I heard two pops, and the plane was on
the ground and on fire," she said.
According to NTSB investigator Thomas Little,
the single-engine Lancair Columbia aircraft turned
over the middle of the runway, then again at the
departure end before crashing.
The maneuver indicates the hot air
was not dense enough and the airspeed
too low to keep the plane -- which
was carrying four adults and two children,
as well as camping gear -- in the
air, Chandler said.
“This would typically be caused
in a circumstance as described, by
the pilot turning too steeply or climbing
too steeply, or both, in hot temperatures
at high mountain altitudes both of
which make the air less dense and
not able to provide as much lift as
denser air,” Chandler said.
“If this were the case, it would be considered
improper flying technique and thus, pilot error,”
The passengers in the plane Pasori was piloting
were his wife Sibel; his brother, David Pasori;
his sister Mila Kuygusuzults and Kuygusuz's two
daughters, Meriem, 2, and Nasrin, 5 months.
The plane departed from Santa Monica Airport
at 4:20 p.m. Friday and was attempting
toland on a runway at the Kern Valley
Airport before 6 p.m. when it crashed,
The family members decided to fly
up for the long holiday weekend to
the lake area near Bakersfield, according
to Sal Yaman, Adam Pasori’s