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Davis, California

Monday, July 15, 2024

Pilot injured in private plane crash at Yolo Airport on Jan. 1

County police, fire department respond to single-engine crash in Davis

A homebuilt, single-engine aircraft crashed at Yolo County Airport on Jan. 1. The aircraft flipped upside down, injuring the pilot and the plane’s sole passenger, according to the West Plainfield Fire Department and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

West Plainfield firefighters were the first to report the crash on Twitter, at 3:37 p.m. on Jan. 1.  

“Station 30 has been dispatched to AIR Aircraft Crash at AVIATION AVE, DAVIS, CA,” the post read.

In a later post on Facebook, the station said they received notice from a “third hand report” Yolo Emergency Communications Agency of a downed plane at Yolo Airport on Jan. 1 at 3:37pm — just down the road from their station near County Road 95 and County Road 31. 

Fire department, medical and police responders arrived on the scene to find the small plane overturned near one of the runways, said the West Plainfield Fire Department on Facebook. 

“The West Plainfield Fire Department, American Medical Response Ambulance, and the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene and found a single engine VANS RV-8 upside down off of Runway 34,” the post read.  

The post included photos that show the scene of the crash. Skidmarks ran from the runway to the crash site, where the small plane lay flipped upside-down — its cockpit window smashed and surrounded by debris. 

The pilot of the downed aircraft had been helped out of the plane’s cockpit by the time responders arrived, according to the fire department, and was later transported to a local hospital.  

The preliminary accident data has since been removed from the FAA’s website, but a cached page of the original incident report suggests that the pilot was the sole occupant of the plane at the time of the crash. The incident report notes that the pilot’s injuries were minor and that the crash occurred during the landing stage of the flight when the aircraft “veered off the runway.”

West Plainfield FD said in its Facebook post that investigation of the cause of the crash had been turned over to the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). Lt. Matt Davis of the Yolo Sheriff’s office later said that the cause of the crash was undetermined and that his office would also be turning over the investigation of the crash to the FAA.   

Data from the plane’s FAA incident report confirms the plane’s model as the VANS Aircraft RV-8, a tandem, fixed-wing and single-engine experimental aircraft. VANS advertises the plane as a fast and “aerobatic” plane capable of performing loops and rolls in competitions.  

 According to a brochure from the airplane manufacturer’s website, the RV-8 is part of a line of airplane models built from a kit, which VANS says can be assembled at home in a garage or similar space and does not require professional experience to put together. 

“Building an RV requires a modest array of tools and a comfortable space about the size of a two-car garage,” the brochure read. “It does not require any special skill. Most RVs have been completed by people with no aircraft building background at all.”

The Yolo County Airport is listed as a General Aviation Airport on its webpage, meaning that it primarily serves private transport and recreational planes similar to the RV-8 that crashed on New Year’s Day, rather than commercial flights. 

Written by: Tim Lalonde — city@theaggie.org 


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