Quick Takes: La Jolla Cessna P210 Crash Claims Pilot’s Life

November 16, 2023 Written by; Aviation Seminars

In a tragic incident, a Cessna P210 aircraft met its demise in a La Jolla neighborhood late Wednesday evening, claiming the life of its pilot.

The event unfolded around 9:35 p.m. when the pilot, grappling with a critical fuel shortage, made an urgent report to the air traffic control tower. Shortly after this communication, the aircraft vanished from radar contact, with no further transmissions received.

The search for the aircraft, spearheaded by the San Diego Police and Fire Department, culminated in the discovery of the wreckage. The downed plane was located early Thursday morning, around 3:00 a.m., on a hillside near the intersection of La Jolla Village Drive and Gilman Drive.

The aircraft was registered to an individual from Carlsbad. However, it remained unclear whether this person was at the controls during the ill-fated flight.

Flight data from flightaware.com revealed that the journey began in the Bay Area, with the aircraft exhibiting a series of erratic maneuvers just prior to the crash.

The San Diego Police Department also confirmed that the plane had made a stop in Murietta, located in Riverside County.

In the intense search operation, police deployed K9 units to scour the canyons and hilly terrains, which was the last known location of the aircraft according to radar. Around 2:00 a.m., a local resident reported seeing a low-flying aircraft in the La Jolla area. This tip led to the deployment of a police drone team, which ultimately located the crash site. The search efforts were hampered by adverse weather conditions, including fog and rain, as noted by Sgt. Tracey Williams.

Residents in the vicinity, including Erica Fischer who lives near the crash site, were unaware of the incident until informed by others. Fischer expressed her shock, having not heard the crash.

Stewart Ortiz, a seasoned pilot, visited the scene and commented on the complexity of the Cessna P210. He noted that this type of aircraft demands a high skill level from its pilots. Ortiz speculated that the crash could have been caused by weather challenges, mechanical issues, or pilot error. He remarked on the criticality of the situation when a plane runs out of fuel, leaving the pilot to glide the aircraft to the safest possible landing.

It is with a heavy heart that we report on any tragedies within the GA community. It’s very important to follow all Aviation laws and safety recommendations. Stay up to date with In-person or Online Test Prep, as well as flight instructor refresher courses.