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Thu, Oct 20, 2005

Columbia 400 Down In Southern California

First Known Customer-Involved Fatal Accident In Type

ANN REALTIME Update, 0004, 10.20.05: A Columbia 400 airplane carrying three people returning home to Arizona after an air show went down Monday morning in a mountainous region of Southern California. All onboard were killed in the accident, believed to be the first involving a certified Columbia (nee Lancair) aircraft.

According to media reports, the Columbia 400 (file photo of type, below) left El Cajon's Gillespie Field Monday morning en route to Scottsdale, AZ. The aircraft was reported overdue Tuesday morning, and a Civil Air Patrol search was launched shortly thereafter.

The wreckage was located near a ridgeline in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, said Maj. Brian Stover of the Civil Air Patrol. 

"There's no sign of survivors," said Stover.

Reported weather was poor along the aircraft's flight path at the time of the accident, although it is not yet known if conditions may have been a factor. No flight plan had been filed, according to CAP reports, and the ELT had not activated.

The identities of the pilot and two passengers onboard were not released pending notification of their families, although it was confirmed by The Scottsdale Republic newspaper all three were from the Scottsdale area, and had been returning home after participating in the Miramar Air Show at the United States Marine Corp Base in San Diego over the weekend.

The airplane was also based at the Scottsdale Airport, according to the Republic.

Columbia Aircraft Issues Statement: Three Believed Lost In Columbia 400 Accident

With deep sadness, Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation announced today that three souls are believed lost in an accident involving a Columbia 400 in the mountains of Southern California.

The aircraft departed Gillespie Field in San Diego, California on Monday October 17th at approximately 11:21 a.m. PDT en route to Scottsdale, Arizona. Weather along the route was reported as poor at the time of departure. The aircraft was reported overdue Tuesday morning by parties expecting the flight’s arrival. The Civil Air Patrol launched a search for the aircraft along the flight’s anticipated route as soon as weather conditions allowed and located the wreckage in a mountainous area of Southern California a short time later. A ground team has been dispatched to the scene. The names of those believed on board the aircraft at the time of the accident are being withheld pending positive identification and notification of their families.

Columbia Aircraft has dispatched a team to the accident site and is cooperating fully and actively with investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This is the first fatal accident involving a certified Columbia aircraft.

Those at Columbia Aircraft wish to express their deepest sympathies for those lost as well as for their families and friends.

Columbia Aircraft manufactures two certified aircraft models. The Columbia 350 is a normally aspirated, four-place aircraft with a cruise speed of 191 knots. The Columbia 400 is an intercooled twin-turbocharged, four-place aircraft certified to FL250 with a cruise speed of 235 knots. In addition to providing legendary performance, both models are renowned for their high level of standard equipment, quality and safety features, including dual electrical systems, dual wing spars, spin resistant/spin recovery features and Utility Category certification.

FMI: www.flycolumbia.com

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