Small Plane Crashes Into East Palo Alto Neighborhood … od/6381730

EAST PALO ALTO, Calif. (KCBS) East Palo Alto police are at the scene of a small plane crash along the waterfront.

FAA spokesman IAN GREGOR says a twin-engine Cessna 310 crashed into a house near the corner of Beach and Pulgas north of the Palo Alto Airport around 8 a.m.

The plane had just departed Palo Alto Airport when it went down about a mile north. The FAA says it was headed for Hawthonre Municipal Airport in Southern California.

At least one house caught fire because of the crash. No word yet of how many people may have been injured. Firefighters are on the scene, and power is out throughout the area. KCBS has received reports of outages up and down University Avenue.

A resident who lives nearby tells Bay City News the plane hit some power lines, and that part of the plane may have landed on a day care center as well as two other homes.

The aircraft’s tail number is N5225J.

Use Dami’s link below…

Link no longer vallid. FlightAware shows the last flight to be on 28 Jan.

Aircraft registered to Air Unique.

Jalopnik is reporting that the 3 dead are all senior managment for Tesla Motors…


I can’t find much at all on this story, but I did read where they’re now confirming 4 died in the crash.

Edit - now it’s back to 3 fatalities. Either way, very sad. RIP … .DTL&tsp=1

sounds to be at least the sr. electrical engieneer…or was at least his plane.

also, on other boards, the town of Palo Alto is pretty much shut-down and without power from this crash…the Hospital is on generator power.


Really tragic, and just down the road from me. A good friend is a CFI at KPAO, I’m sure she knows the pilot. :frowning:

Mercury News (local) has a longer piece on the crash that has some updated information on the power-out situation, etc. Same link as is now on the squawk that’s now on the FA front page. … ck_check=1

Anyone know if he was filed VFR or IFR?


orig KPAO
dest KHHR
edt 02/17/2010 15:40:00
eta 02/17/2010 17:44:00
route PAO…SJC…SNS.V25.RZS.V597.SLI…HHR/0200
aircraftData C310/I
reqAlt 90
speed 175

photo source

Click Here ABC crash photo.

after viewing that photo 16 contractors left thier business cards on the front porch…sign of the times. :unamused: Company website . . .

Stanford Daily Photos on Flickr of crash site; (1) . . . (2) . . . (3) . . . (4) .

This is evidently the only thing that happened today in the entire world, at least if you watch Channel 4 in San Francisco! It’s now nearly 6 p.m. They have been reporting this “developing story” for over 20 minutes. And you now what? They ain’t said a single new thing.

Come on! It’s not a developing story. It happened at 7:30 this morning.

And people wonder why I watch the local news for comedy.

A departure. One could easily assume he had lost an engine, if not both, and he was trying to return to the airport. Got to wonder if he said anything to the tower?

I flew out of Palo Alto for over thirty years I knew it was only a matter of time went something like this would happen. I remember that Cessna 310. My thought and prayers go out to the pilots and his passengers.

After an accident I usually think that pilot was no smarter or dumber than me. Faced with the same situation (what ever it was) how many of us could hope for a better outcome? There is a lot to learn from looking at accidents and it keeps the fear of god in me.

The pilot was based out of the airport and I’m sure he played the same what if game I play right after departure. Yet 20 seconds before they were dead they thought they they were coming home that night.

A question not criticism. Why did he go left? Maybe he was trying to make the golf course? Suction pump failure? Was the door open and the pilot became distracted? Did he drop his pencil and reach down for it? Was he changing to NorCal approach?

He went left because the left engin was not making power, once he pushed the power up he WAS conmmited to go, PAO is too short for a Accelerate/stop in a 300/400 cessna, my inlaws live less than 3 miles from PAO we go into SJC or HWD in a 340 ( same T.O and land # as 310R)
The 340 today would be a ground roll 1910ft, 2580 to clear 50ft, and accelerate/stop would be 3510ft PAO is 2443 ft long.
I hate to see that,I feel bad for all involved.

Excellent point Frank. The fear of God will help us avoid complacency. That will probably eliminate 75% of all accidents. Most of the others are still pilot error but only as a matter of making the wrong choice under the worst circumstances.

In general, how is the 310 as a multi time builder?

They are cheap to buy and fast. I’ve known people who buy a early 60’s model just to build ME time. A twinkle is cheaper to operate but people lean towards the 310.

I got my ME in a Aztec and can count my 310 time on one hand.

*February 17, 2010

“Three Tesla employees were on board a plane that crashed in East Palo Alto early this morning. We are withholding their identities as we work with the relevant authorities to notify the families. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. Tesla is a small, tightly-knit company, and this is a tragic day for us.”

  • Elon Musk, CEO*

No distress call was made. The last radio traffic was the takeoff clearence.

In a rather bizarre twist the crash was captured on audio by the Palo Alto gunshot locating system. Gunshot spotter system captured East Palo Alto plane crash as it happened

Local pilot scuttlebutt is that examination of the power line tower indicates that the plane was in a skidding turn, not banked when it struck the tower. Take that with a grain of salt until at least the preliminary report comes out in about five days.