.Watsonville Plane Crash Investigation Update

National Transportation Safety Board releases preliminary results of its investigation into the mid-air plane crash last month

The National Transportation Safety Board on Thursday released the preliminary results of its investigation into the mid-air plane crash last month at Watsonville Municipal Airport that killed three people.

While not offering any fresh information, the report does give a detailed look at the crash, which occurred Aug. 18 at about 2:55pm.

According to the report, a Cessna 152 flown by Stuart Camenson was performing touch-and-go landings, and was coming in for another landing when Carl Kruppa, flying a Cessna 340 northeast of the airport, reported that he was 10 miles out and planned to land on runway 20.

About one minute later, Camenson reported that he was on the crosswind leg, then shortly after reported that he was on the downwind leg for runway 20.

Kruppa reported that he was three miles out and straight-in for runway 20, and soon radioed that he was one mile out and straight in for the runway. He also said he was looking for air traffic.

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Camenson reported that he saw the Cessna 340 behind him, and added that he was going to go around, “because you are coming up on me pretty quick.”

Multiple witnesses then said they saw and heard the two airplanes collide. 

A pilot who was flying over the airport at 1,300 feet said he saw the Cessna 340 close on the Cessna 152’s tail.

The Cessna 340 then banked to the right, and its left wing struck the Cessna 152. The pilot then saw both airplanes crash. 

Another witness who took a photo of the two airplanes as they approached the airport said that the Cessna 340 appeared to be in a steep right bank, and that the Cessna 152 appeared to be in a slight “nose-low attitude.”

Camenson’s plane crashed on the airport property about 1,200 feet northeast of the approach end of runway 20. The left wing separated from the airplane and came to rest about 500 feet northeast of the main wreckage.

The left horizontal stabilizer and elevator separated and came to rest about 380 feet northeast of the main wreckage. 

Two small sections of the Cessna 340’s left tip tank were located near the Cessna 152 wreckage. The Cessna 340 came to rest in a hangar located on the southeast side of the airport. All major pieces of the Cessna 340 were located in the debris area. 

Both aircraft were recovered and secured in a storage facility pending further examination.

The crash also killed Kruppa’s wife, Nannette Plett-Kruppa, and a dog that was also aboard their plane.

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