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Pilot of plane that crash-landed on Carlsbad beach praised

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Plane crashes on Carlsbad State Beach

Banner towing plane crash lands on Carlsbad beach

EL CAJON, Calif. — One flight instructor at a Gillespie Field flight school said the pilot of the small plane that landed on Carlsbad State Beach did the right thing.

The Federal Aviation Administration has yet to determine the cause of the accident, but video shows the plane’s propeller not moving, indicating the engine stopped working.

“When it does fail, we train pilots how to react, what to look for. As far as a landing site and everything involved in making a safe landing, you’re looking for something long and something buyable, a surface to land on…entire beach is not adequate, it’s usually soft. You would try to get to a point where the sand is compacted by the water,” said Steve Mason, a flight instructor with Golden State Flying Club.

Mason said the pilot, who has not been identified, had no way of warning beachgoers, who had no way to hear the plane because its engine had cut off.

Google Map for coordinates 32.794773 by -116.962527.


  • Dan Sweeny

    Sorry, but this pilot did not do such a great job! Yes, he saved himself and his airplane but at the risk of killing innocent people on the beach. Our primary obligation as pilots is to protect people and property on the ground, sacrificing ourselves and our aircraft if necessary. This pilot should have ditched in the water well outside the swimming area and dealt with the consequences of that later. Had that little boy been killed or several people killed, people would not be saying what a great job he did. A few years ago a pilot landed on top of two people on a South Carolina beach, a father and a little girl out for a morning stroll. The father was killed. Totally selfish and irresponsible by that pilot. I don’t see how he could ever get in that plane again.

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