Combining local news reports and flight data from FlightAware, the particulars of a Beech Baron crash landing early this week suggest a confusing sequence of events. The good news is that the pilot, (reportedly) an 80-year-old Vietnam veteran, was the only one on board and is alive and well. FlightAware data, which does not pick up the airplane until it was a few miles from the airport, still suggests a very short flight. The 1982 B58P (pressurized) Baron twin was first recorded by ADS-B at 1:47 p.m. local time after departing California’s Bay Area Palo Alto Airport (KPAO). The flight data concluded just three minutes later after the Baron struck power lines and crash landed in rugged scrub brush terrain, ripping off the left wing outboard of the engine. FlightAware listings indicate the Baron never exceeded 500 feet of altitude, according to ADS-B data.
Reporters wrote that the pilot was a former Naval aviator and, according to his daughter, he “likely relied on his muscle memory in making Monday’s difficult landing.” The flight track on FlightAware shows a U-turn pattern from KPAO, northeast over San Francisco Bay, and buttonhooking back west to its final resting point nor far from the departure airport.
FAA registration data shows the Baron is operated by Faford Aviation Leasing under a partnership. The original certification was in November 1991, with the most recent action in May 2021. The registration expiration date is listed as Oct. 31, 2024.
Recent flight activity includes two flights within the past several days—a 1-hour, 20-minute trip from San Jose (KSJC) to Reno, Nevada (KRNO), on Sept. 9; and a 59-minute flight on 9/11 from Reno to Palo Alto.