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Plane Takes Off From SMO, Goes Down in Landfill

The pilot and passenger suffered minor injuries in the incident, which occurred Thursday.

A plane took off from on Thursday and subsequently made an emergency landing in a Calabasas landfill, according to Captain Mike Parker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The pilot and passenger suffered minor injuries, and the plane was damaged in the incident.

The pilot was a 27-year-old male flight instructor from Irvine, and the passenger was a 20-year-old man from Westwood. They were on a training flight and intended to return to SMO, Parker said.

Air traffic control at Van Nuys Airport informed the Los Angeles Police Department at 6:18 p.m. that the plane, a 2001 Piper Cherokee, was getting ready to make an emergency landing. The LAPD contacted sheriff's deputies, who located the men and the plane at 6:50 p.m. near a trail at the landfill.

Engine failure is suspected to be the cause of the incident.

Sheriff’s Aero Bureau pilots are currently investigating the incident, as will the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.

Nan March 12, 2011 at 02:46 AM
The fact that a student pilot out of Santa Monica Airport crashed this plane is just one more vivid example of why there should not be flight schools in a residential neighborhood.
badnewscoming March 12, 2011 at 10:33 PM
I didn't know Bill Rosendahl was taking lessons?
badnewscoming March 12, 2011 at 10:44 PM
Nan, I guess the XM radio went out!
flyinghigh12 March 12, 2011 at 10:52 PM
Your're right Nan, we shouldn't put flight schools in residental areas and you can drive 2 hrs to the desert to get on your vacation flight since we only have 3 pilots training. And your ignorance is amazing, read the article before you write something dumb... It wasn't a student he was a Private Pilot with an Intrument license. He was a commercial student. So stop having dihera of the mouth and get a hobby.
flyinghigh12 March 12, 2011 at 10:58 PM
“That’s the pilot I want to have if anything goes wrong,” Pittman said of the tricky landing.
Captain Pinky March 12, 2011 at 11:13 PM
Thank god for Santa Monica Airport!
Valerie Ferguson December 06, 2011 at 06:39 PM
My family has lived in SM since 1968. What is now the Santa Monica Business Park use to be the Santa Monica Airport .

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