The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined the cause of a 2012 plane crash outside San Diego that killed the Stern family of Phoenix.
The Sterns—William Arthur Stern, Jr., Jennifer Jane Stern, and their 19-year-old daughter Katelyn Jane Stern—were flying back from San Diego on the morning of December 29, 2012 when their plane, a Lancair IV-P homebuilt aircraft, crashed into the hilly landscape of the Sycamore Canyon Open Space Reserve. All three were killed in the crash.
The NTSB expected a report to be released within six months to two years of the crash, and recently released their findings to the public. Investigators found that Stern, a licensed pilot for over 10 years, failed to maintain proper airspeed while attempting to climb through a broken cloud layer. The aircraft stalled and entered a spin, crashing into a hill.
Lancair discontinued the IV-P model in 2012, following a 2009 warning from the Federal Aviation Administration of the risk of the experimental plane. The FAA stated that the accident rate of Lancairs was “substantially higher” than both the general aviation light aircraft accident rate as well as the homebuilt experimental accident rate.
The same model of aircraft was involved in the plane crash that killed Micron Technology CEO Steve Appleton earlier in 2012. The Lancair IV family of aircraft have been involved in 20 accidents to date, 18 of which have been fatal.
The Phoenix aviation accident attorneys of Curry, Pearson & Wooten, PLC extend their deepest sympathies to the surviving Stern family and friends.