SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The National Transportation Safety Board investigation into a plane crash in a parking lot near East San Diego County’s Gillespie Field indicates the pilot suddenly lost power during takeoff.
The crash happened Dec. 17 about 10 a.m. as the North American Navion plane was leaving El Cajon for John Wayne-Orange County Airport in Santa Ana. The pilot landed in a parking lot and the plane caught fire.
The pilot and two passengers sustained serious injuries. Two of the passengers were Huntington Beach Police officers. One of the people on the plane required surgery.
No one on the ground was hurt, however three parked Cox Communications trucks were damaged.
The NTSB report said the pilot had flown from Santa Ana to El Cajon earlier in the day without incident. The departure from Gillespie Field was normal and the plane had sufficient fuel, the report indicated.
The engine experienced a sudden loss of power about 400 feet off the ground. The pilot banked left in an attempt to return to the airport but could not maintain altitude, according to the report.
The pilot told investigators the engine had recently been overhauled and installed in the plane in August of 2017.