The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released details about a midair collision between two pilots that occurred last month near California’s Watsonville Municipal Airport.
The collision of the two Cessnas resulted in the death of three people and a dog. Pilot Carl Kruppa, Nannette Plett-Kruppa and the dog were in one of the planes, while the sole occupant of the other aircraft was the pilot, Stuart Camenson. Radio recordings indicate that the two pilots were in communication before the crash, with one telling the other, “You are coming up on me pretty quick,” the NTSB’s preliminary report said.
“On August 18. 2022, about 14:55 Pacific Daylight time, a Cessna 152, N49931, and a Cessna 340, N740WJ, were involved in a mid-air collision near Watsonville, California,” the report said. “Both airplanes were destroyed. The pilot and passenger of N740WJ and the pilot of N49931 were fatally injured.”
“Both aircraft were operated as Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flights,” the report said. It also produced a picture captured by a witness who saw the planes collide from her office.
Describing the image that showed the collision, the report said: “The Cessna 340 appears to be in a sleep right bank and the Cessna 152 appears to be in a slight nose-low attitude.”
Aviation expert Max Trescott analyzed the report and the collision when speaking to San Francisco TV station KGO.
“It does show distinctly that the twin-engine, at the very last moment, was turning to the right to avoid the other aircraft that clearly making that turn. Just a couple of seconds too late,” he said.
Referring to the twin-engine plane carrying Carl Kruppa and Nannette Plett-Kruppa, Trescott said the aircraft was traveling too fast.
“It was about 80 knots faster on the day of the accident than it had been the prior weekend, when it arrived. That’s almost 100 miles an hour faster,” he said. “I think the pilot would have realized at some point that he was too fast. He would have to then climb, go around and fly a rectangular pattern to try landing again.”
Multiple witnesses reported hearing the two pilots communicating over CTAF (common traffic advisory frequency), as the airport does not have a control tower, KGO reported. Others heard and observed the two airplanes collide, according to the preliminary findings.
Camenson is heard responding to Kruppa, saying, “Yeah, I see you. You’re behind me. I’m gonna go around then. You’re coming at me pretty quick, man,” according to KGO.
A GoFundMe Page has been set up for Camenson to create a memorial for him.
“Stuart was one of a kind. Loving, caring and inspiring are just a few words to describe a person who left an impression on everyone he met,” the page reads.
It continues: “We are raising funds to sponsor the creation of a memorial to be placed at the Watsonville Municipal Airports. Any funds leftover will be used to aid the Camenson family in their mental health needs.”