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Thu, Jan 29, 2009

One Victim Identified In SMO Marchetti Accident

Paulo Emanuele Was GM Of Popular Aviation Photography Site

ANN REALTIME UPDATE 01.29.09 1000 EST: One of the victims in Wednesday's takeoff downing of a SIAI Marchetti SF.260C at Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO) has been identified... and it's a name that's shaken an online community of aviation enthusiasts.

Paulo Emanuele became general manager of Airliners.net just shy of two years ago, upon the sale of the aviation photography and discussion Web site to Demand Media. Though many contributors to the site had never met Emanuele in person, they described him Thursday as an enthuastic supporter of all things aviation, as well as a skilled pilot.

The identity of the second victim onboard the accident plane has not been released, and investigators are still working to determine why the plane went down. Reports indicate the turboprop-powered Marchetti was departing SMO when it suffered engine problems. Witnesses say the plane appeared to be turning back to the airport.

One witness, who was driving by the airport at the time of the crash, described seeing the high-performance, low-wing aircraft about 500 feet above the ground with its nose raised sharply upward.

"The aircraft slowed down and began to roll and head straight down," Crista Worthy told the Los Angeles Times. "I knew there was no way he was going to survive that."

"I saw this red plane just go nose down," added a nearby resident, who declined to be identified. "Then a big crash and fire and smoke." The FAA Preliminary Report (below) cites an airborne witness, who said the plane made a sudden turn to the right and descended at a steep angle.

ANN extends our condolences to Emanuele's family and friends, as well as to those of the second victim. We will provide further updates as they become available.

IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 688C        Make/Model: F26T      Description: SF-260TP
  Date: 01/29/2009     Time: 0105

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Fatal     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Substantial

LOCATION
  City: SANTA MONICA   State: CA   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  THE AIRCRAFT DEPARTED THE SANTA MONICA AIRPORT RUNWAY 21 AND BEGAN A LEFT
  TURN FOR NOISE ABATEMENT, THEN TURNED BACK TO THE RIGHT DESCENDING RAPIDLY
  AT A 70 TO 80 DEGREE ANGLE ACCORDING TO AN AIRBORNE WITNESS AT SANTA MONICA
  AIRPORT, SANTA MONICA, CA.

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   2
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   1     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   
                 # Pass:   1     Fat:   1     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   

WEATHER: VFR

OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Climb      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: LOS ANGELES, CA  (WP23)               Entry date: 01/29/2009

Original Report

Two persons onboard a SIAI Marchetti SF-260C were killed Wednesday evening when their aircraft crashed after takeoff from the Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO).

Witnesses said the plane appeared to lose engine power shortly after takeoff, just after 5:00 pm PST, and impacted the pavement near the approach end of runway 3. The pilot may have been attempting to turn back to the airport when the aircraft went down.

Footage from the scene indicates the aircraft came to rest flat on its belly, and caught fire.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told The Associated Press the experimental aircraft is registered to Wingspan Inc., based in Malibu, CA. Identities of the victims have not been released.

Santa Monica Muni was closed Wednesday night, while officials began their investigation into the accident.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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