WOODLAND HILLS—John K. Lewis, 82, of the Reforma neighborhood in Woodland Hills was identified as the pilot aboard the Bede BD-5 that crashed into vegetation field terrain off Pleasant Valley Road & Las Posas Road in Camarillo on Tuesday, October 8.
Communications Manager Ian Gregor of the Federal Aviation Administration spoke to Canyon News and stated that the aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances at around 12:30 p.m. Pilot Lewis, who was the only person aboard, was killed when the plane burned after impact.
After departing, Lewis reported that he was having trouble gaining altitude. The FAA declared in their preliminary report that the aircraft crashed while attempting to land at the Camarillo Airport. According to Gregor, Lewis departed from the Camarillo airport to fly locally, and planned to return to Camarillo after his flight.
The Flight Safety Foundation stated in their report that the fatal crash Lewis experienced led to a loss of engine power and a subsequent impact when hitting the ground during his attempted return to his point of departure southeast of the Camarillo Airport. They concluded that the aircraft was partially consumed by the post crash fire leading to Lewis becoming trapped inside where he died of injuries sustained. The distance between the vegetation field terrain off Pleasant Valley Road & Las Posas Road where the aircraft crashed and the Camarillo airport was 0.8 miles, a total of 4224 feet.
The FSF detailed that the Bede BD-5 Micro was created to be a small, single-seat homebuilt aircraft presented to the market primarily in kit form. The aircraft was experimentally built in the 1960s, but quickly deemed defunct as in the early 1970s.
Gregor informed Canyon News that the FAA and The National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash. He stated that the NTSB is the lead agency and it typically takes the NTSB a year or more to determine a probable cause of an accident. Neither the FAA nor the NTSB identifies people involved in aircraft accidents.