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Early Analysis: N880Z

Learjet 35A Crash in El Cajon San Diego, CA

December 27, 2021

UPDATE: The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report (WPR22FA068) regarding the investigation into the El Cajon, CA Learjet 35A (N880Z) accident.

On December 27, 2021, a Learjet 35A crashed into a neighborhood in El Cajon, Calif., killing the pilot, copilot, and two flight nurses. No one on the ground was injured. The airplane, operating under Part 135 of the FAA regulations as an air ambulance flight, was returning to its home base at Gillespie Field (KSEE) after its third and final flight of the day. Weather conditions at the time of the accident were three miles visibility in light mist at night under layers of scattered and broken clouds at 1,100 and 2,000 feet above ground level (AGL), respectively. It appears the pilot lost control of the airplane shortly after overflying the airport while making a left turn to line up for Runway 27 Right.

In, Early Analysis: N880Z, the AOPA Air Safety Institute makes a preliminary assessment of the accident, addressing notable portions of the tragic flight and highlighting areas the NTSB will likely investigate to determine a probable cause.

Read the AOPA Air Safety Institute’s Spatial Disorientation Safety Spotlight to learn more about factors that might have contributed to this accident.