June 24, 1970: Former City Councilman Kenneth Wamsley was involved in a fatal crash adjacent to Penmar Golf Course after having taken off from SMO.
1978 to 1987: Eleven "landing off the runway" incidents involving airplanes that used SMO occurred during these years.
Summer of 1980: Santa Monica Councilman and former Mayor Pieter van den Steenhoven died when his light plane crashed into the ocean.
Jan. 19, 1982: Cessna 182E (nonfatal). Upon landing touchdown, the aircraft bounced at high speed and departed the runway. The pilot applied brakes and the aircraft skidded to a halt just before a ditch.
Apr. 10, 1982: Piper PA-38-112 (nonfatal). During landing, the student pilot allowed the aircraft to bounce. The noise gear buckled and the aircraft skidded off the runway.
July 5, 1982: Beech 60 (nonfatal). At 700 feet, the left engine failed, the right engine lost power, and the plane crashed into the ocean about 2,000 yards from the . Lifeguards rescued the pilot when he surfaced.
July 21, 1983: Cessna 172M (nonfatal). The plane began to porpoise during landing.
Feb. 18, 1984: Beech A36 (nonfatal). Due to electrical system and mechanical problems, the plane lost power and the landing gear didn’t extend.
Oct. 8, 1984: Cessna 180 (nonfatal). The wheels locked upon landing and the aircraft nosed over.
May 4, 1985: Beech V35A (nonfatal). Upon noting a fuel odor, the pilot returned to the airport. After the plane landed and was turning off the runway, fire erupted. The fuel lines, which were supposed to be replaced every five years, did not appear to have been replaced.
May 17, 1987: Cessna 182L (nonfatal). After losing power shortly after takeoff, the single-engine Cessna 182 aircraft crashed into three cars while trying to land on Rose Ave. in Mar Vista. The pilot, two passengers and a motorist were injured.
July 15, 1987: Cessna T210L (fatal). The plane departed from SMO headed for San Jose. Witnesses on a boat saw the aircraft in a steep climb altitude just below the bases of the clouds, followed by rolling over and diving steeply into the ocean off Marina del Rey.
Aug. 11, 1987: Pilots of a Boeing 737 reported that a near-collision occurred 2.5 miles east of the Santa Monica VOR. The co-pilot took evasive action and estimated that they passed the unidentified aircraft with about 100 feet of separation.
Sept. 22, 1987: Cessna 172P (nonfatal). The student pilot stated that the aircraft caught a gust of wind and ballooned, he overcorrected, and the aircraft nosed down into the runway.
July 7, 1989: Cessna 150M (nonfatal). Due to improper installation of the carburetor throttle linkage arm, the engine power dropped to idle as the flight instructor and student pilot were practicing touch-and-go landings. During the descent into a forced landing, the airplane impacted wires and a traffic light pole and ended up on Rose Avenue in Venice.
July 9, 1989: Cessna 210 (nonfatal). On its first flight after annual inspection, the plane lost all engine power and the pilot was forced to land at Hillcrest Country Club in Rancho Park. The cause was an under-torqued oil line fitting, due to its improper installation by maintenance personnel. This resulted in a loose oil line fitting, an oil line leak, oil exhaustion and subsequent failure of the engine.
Aug. 6, 1989: Cessna 152 (nonfatal). During solo flight, the student pilot landed hard, the plane began to porpoise down the runway and the nose gear collapsed.
Sept. 2, 1989: World War II vintage P-51 Mustang (nonfatal). This account is from the blog of the pilot's sister-in-law: "Out of the blue, an actual bolt flew off the engine and into the propeller ... birds followed. The plane spiraled out of control. The plane rolled, rolled again, and crashed" into a home on Wade St. in Mar Vista. "The two elderly sisters who owned the house were not at home—they were out walking their dog." The pilot and his co-pilot wife suffered grave injuries and "it took them almost a year to fully recover."
Oct. 26, 1989: Wheeler Aircraft Co. Express 100 (nonfatal). Experimental Wheeler Express aircraft crashed into three homes on Greenfield Ave. in West Los Angeles, causing a fire. Pilot and passenger injured.
Feb. 26, 1990: Reid Long-EZ (fatal). Home-built Long-EZ aircraft crashed into the ocean near the pier in heavy fog, about a half-hour after takeoff. The pilot died.
Aug. 4, 1990: Hughes 369D (nonfatal). The pilot landed the helicopter on the roof of a shopping mall parking structure and exited with the engine running. The helicopter lifted off about 10 feet and rolled over.
Feb. 24, 1991: Piper PA46-301P (nonfatal). Piper Malibu aircraft crashed into a home on West Sherbourne Drive in West Los Angeles while attempting an emergency landing.
Oct. 4, 1991: Cessna 152 (nonfatal). See next entry.
Oct. 4, 1991: Cessna 421C (nonfatal). The Cessna 421 pilot looked down as he was approaching the run-up area and taxied into the stopped Cessna 152, which was waiting for takeoff clearance.
Jan. 18, 1992: Mooney M-20-C (fatal). Mooney Ranger M-20 aircraft clipped a utility pole, burst into flames and ended up in the front yard of a home on Dewey and Walgrove in Santa Monica. The pilot and passenger died.
Mar. 9, 1992: Cessna 172P (nonfatal). On a second solo flight, the student pilot lost control of the plane on the third of three landings due to excessive approach airspeed.
Sept. 5, 1992: Cessna 182A (nonfatal). The pilot undershot the runway, causing the plane to nose over onto its back.
Apr. 29, 1993: Cessna 172N (nonfatal). The pilot failed to recover from a bounced landing, which subsequently collapsed the nose landing gear.
July 2, 1993: Piper PA-24-180 (nonfatal). The Piper Comanche aircraft crashed into the ocean about two miles off Malibu and sank in 20 feet of water after experiencing a total loss of power. The pilot had executed the emergency procedures and attempted to restart the engine, but without success. The probable cause was that, although the fuel selector valve handle was selected to the right tank, which had 15 gallons of fuel, the valve was positioned toward the left tank, which was empty. The valve shaft displayed extreme wear and was rounded, although an annual inspection had been performed 16 flight hours before the accident. The pilot was injured.
Nov. 26, 1993: SIAI-Marchetti F-260 (fatal). The student pilot failed to maintain minimum air speed during a turn, which resulted in an inadvertent stall/spin. The aircraft crashed into the carport of an apartment building on Fourth St. near Bay and burst into flames. Contributing to the accident was improper weight (90 pounds over the gross weight limit), improper balance, inadequate altitude, and inadequate supervision. The pilot (the son of filmmaker Sidney Pollack) and two passengers died.
Dec. 7, 1993: Cessna 177RG (nonfatal). Runway overrun.
Mar. 11, 1994: Piper PA-28-180 (fatal). Piper Cherokee aircraft crashed into a home on Barrington near National. Investigators blamed a loose engine cowling. The cowling, improperly fastened after repairs, came loose as the pilot attempted to return to the airport, creating so much wind resistance that the aircraft could no longer fly. The passenger died, and the pilot was injured.
Apr. 20, 1994: Piper PA-32R-301T (fatal). Moments after takeoff, the engine began to sputter and then quit due to running out of gas. The plane crashed into the backyard/garage of a house on Ashland Ave. near 23rd St. The pilot died on impact. After this accident, the Santa Monica Airport Commission established a Safety Committee, which made 37 recommendations.
Nov. 22, 1994: Beech 95-B55 (nonfatal). Loss of power in both engines due to fuel starvation caused by the instructor’s miscalculations. He glided to the runway with the landing gear retracted. The aircraft was destroyed by the post-crash fire.
May 7, 1995: Davenport Long-EZ (nonfatal). The home-built experimental aircraft apparently lost power as it approached SMO, snagged power lines, narrowly missed a home and crashed into a garage home in the 13000 block of Warren in Mar Vista. The pilot was critically injured, with severe head injuries.
July 13, 1995: Mooney M-20-M (nonfatal). During takeoff roll, the pilot realized he had no airspeed indication, decided to abort the takeoff, skidded off the end of the runway, and the plane caught fire. The cause was an improperly installed pitot line to the airspeed indicator.
Feb. 7, 1997: Cessna 310Q (nonfatal). After both engines lost power, the pilot made a forced landing on a golf course. Both fuel selectors were improperly set to the left main tank, which was completely dry.
June 16, 1999: Cessna 180K (nonfatal). The pilot reported that he made a steep vertical descent before leveling off and landing on Runway 21. A witness said the plane landed hard and porpoised down the runway four times before the left wing hit, and the plane ground looped.
July 11, 1999: Rose Velocity 173/FG-E (nonfatal). During landing, a strong gust of wind lifted the wing, then the plane bounced and porpoised down the runway. The pilot attempted a go-around, but the plane passed over a taxiway, clipped two parked planes, crossed another taxiway and hit a steel hanger door.
Sept. 23, 1999: Cessna 421C (nonfatal). The plane landed hard and caught fire.
Mar. 28, 2001: Cessna 172N (fatal). An inexperienced pilot rented a Cessna 172 from Justice Aviation. The pilot had taken his primary flight lessons from a Texas-based school and he was, by his own admission, not familiar with flying around marine cloud layers. On a dark, moonless night, while flying over the ocean, the pilot initiated a turn away from the city lights and commenced descending with a vertical descent rate of more than 2,100 feet per minute. A witness one mile away reported that the plane looked as though it was falling straight into the water. The probably cause was the pilot's loss of airplane control while maneuvering due to spatial disorientation. Contributing factors were the dark night, the marine cloud layer that restricted the pilot's cruising altitude, and the pilot's lack of familiarity with nighttime flight over the ocean. The pilot and two passengers died.
Nov. 13, 2001: Cessna 340A (fatal). Witnesses reported observing the airplane traveling along the runway at an unusually high speed, with normal engine sound and without becoming airborne, followed by an abrupt reduction in engine power and the sound of screeching tires. Skid marks were present on the last 1,000 feet of the runway. The plane vaulted an embankment, impacted a guardrail on an airport service road 30 feet below (near 23rd Street) and burst into flames. The probable cause was the pilot's failure to remove the control gust lock prior to takeoff and his failure to abort the takeoff with sufficient runway remaining to stop the plane on the runway. Both the pilot and passenger died.
Feb. 3, 2002: Beech 95-B55 (nonfatal). The twin-engine plane took off from SMO, lost power in both engines and landed short of the High Desert Airport runway in an unprepared field near homes in Joshua Tree.
June 6, 2003: Beech A36Tc (fatal). The aircraft took off from SMO, headed for Las Vegas and crashed into a three-story apartment building at 601 N. Spalding Dr., near Fairfax High School. It collided with the roof and came to rest in a subterranean parking area. A post-impact fire destroyed the plane. The pilot, three passengers and a resident of the apartment building died. There were also seven serious injuries on the ground.
Mar. 16, 2004: Mooney M20K (fatal). Aircraft crashed into a Mar Vista home while trying to land at fog-shrouded SMO. The pilot and his wife, who were returning from a skiing trip in Mammoth, both died.
Dec. 4, 2004: Piper PA-28-181 (nonfatal). Flown by a student pilot, the plane failed to touch down and, about halfway down the runway, continued to float. When it finally touched down, the instructor applied the brakes, turned right to avoid a ditch and overran the runway. The probable cause was inadequate supervision, inadequate compensation for tailwind conditions and delayed remedial action.
Mar. 13, 2006: Beech A36 (fatal). After departing from SMO, the plane lost power. The pilot tried to return to the airport, then planned to attempt to land on the beach and ended up ditching into the ocean, where the plane sank in 20 feet of water. The pilot (game show host Peter Tomarken) and his wife died.
Jan. 13, 2008: DeSousa Jabiru J400 (nonfatal). The brakes on the home-built aircraft failed, the plane overran the runway, and it landed on a service road.
Mar. 11, 2008: A single-engine Cessna experienced a malfunction with the landing gear mechanism, which prevented the left main landing gear from extending to the full down and locked position.
Oct. 7, 2008: Iniziative Industriale Italian Sky Arrow 600 Sport (fatal). Witnesses observed the plane flying low over the water and then, while it was making a steep left turn, they saw it nose over and impact the ocean off Malibu and sink. The student pilot and instructor, who suffered critical injuries, were flown by helicopter to UCLA Medical Center. The instructor later died.
Jan. 28, 2009: SIAI-Marchetti SF-260C (fatal). The single-engine plane lost power during takeoff, crashed on the west end of the runway and burst into flames. The probable cause was the pilot's failure to select the proper fuel tank for takeoff, which resulted in a loss of engine power. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control while attempting a return to runway maneuver. The pilot and passenger died.
Aug. 2, 2009: Davenport DAVE-EZ (nonfatal). The aircraft experienced engine failure after takeoff. The pilot attempted to turn back to land but crashed on the taxiway.
July 1, 2010: Cessna 152 (fatal). Cleared by the tower for touch-and-go pattern work, the pilot failed to maintain adequate air speed and airplane control during the initial climb, resulting in an aerodynamic stall/spin. Witnesses observed the plane make a 90-degree left turn and enter into a spiraling nose dive. The plane crashed nose-down near the 8th hole of the Penmar Golf Course, and the pilot died. The plane was rented from Justice Aviation.
Mar. 10, 2011: Piper PA-280R-200 (nonfatal).
Aug. 29, 2011: Cessna 172 (nonfatal). According to reports, the pilot, after 40 hours of instruction, attempted to land at SMO and was instructed to go around. The plane, owned by Justice Aviation, was built in 1973.