Corona, CA 2 Die Including Civil Air Patrol Cadet Fight Instructor in Crash of American Aviation AA-1A Aircraft, Jul 2011

Matthew P. Shope Crash of N34299 and CAP Cadet Flight Instuctor Matt Shope Matthew P. Shope Matthew P. Shope

POMONA - Investigators have ruled a plane crash that killed a Pomona man and a pilot last year was the result of an aggressive flight maneuver performed by the newly licensed flight instructor at a low altitude, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Pedro Torres, 19, of Pomona and the pilot, Matthew P. Shope, 18, of Los Angeles, died July 23, 2011 when their plane crashed in Corona.

The report on the crash released last week stated Torres was taking an introductory lesson from Shope after leaving Chino Airport that morning.

A witness stated she saw the airplane make an abrupt, swooping and descending left turn.

She desribed it as "extravagant" and similar to an aerobatic maneuver typically seen at air shows.

The witness also reported the airplane began to roll out of the turn sending the craft nose-first into the ground.

The impact was so violent that parts of the airplane were scattered for dozens of feet around the crash site and caused the wreckage to burst into flames.

Shope had been issued his private pilot certificate with a glider rating in November 2008.

He then received his commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine and instrument airplane on Jan. 24, 2011.

About four months before the fatal crash, he was issued his certified flight instructor certificate, records show. At the time, he applied for his instructor's certificate, Shope had logged about 350 flight hours.

Investigators determined it didn't appear there was anything mechanically wrong with the airplane.

By Beatriz E. Valenzuela, Daily Bulletin


C/CMSgt Matthew P. Shope (picture:
November 4, 1992 – July 23, 2011

Civil Air Patrol Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Paul Shope died in a non-CAP related single engine airplane crash in Corona, Calif., bordering the Cleveland National Forest, on Saturday July 23, 2011. He was 18.

Shope was born in November 1992 and resided in Long Beach. Shope is survived by his mother, 1st Lt. Paula Shope, CAP, and his younger sister, Mariah Shope. Shope attended Los Alamitos High School and hoped to attend Cypress College in the fall. Shope joined the Civil Air Patrol Los Alamitos Glider Training Squadron 41 in June 2007, and later transferred to the Fullerton Composite Squadron 56.

Shope’s love of aviation began when he received an introductory flight for his 13th birthday. At 14, Shope soloed in a glider after completing flight lessons at the Los Alamitos Glider Training Squadron 41 and received his FAA Glider Pilot license on his 15th birthday. At 16, Shope soloed a powered aircraft, and received his FAA Private Pilot license at 17.

Shope continued to train and earn additional FAA certifications, including passing the FAA Commercial Pilot license exam at 18. Shope earned an FAA Ground Instructor certificate and was a Certified Flight Instructor. Shope was using his CFI rating to help build flight hours towards his Airline Transport Pilot license to become a commercial airline pilot.

“Matt truly lived to fly, and flied to live,” said Maj. Grant Henninger, Squadron 56 Commander.

While a member of the Civil Air Patrol, Shope attended two cadet encampments and several National Cadet Special Activities including the Air Force Pararescue Orientation Course at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., and the National Blue Beret at Oshkosh, Wis. Shope also attended the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Familiarization Course at Columbus Air Force base, Miss., and the National Emergency Services Academy at Camp Atterbury, Ind.

Shope was very active in Emergency Services and training to become a Civil Air Patrol Mission Pilot. “His drive to participate in Emergency Services was so infections that it encouraged other cadets and even a few senior members to participate in Emergency Services,” Henninger said.

He was a confident and excellent pilot, with a true passion for flying, said Lt. Col. James Welliver, Squadron 41 Commander. “Every time I flew with Matt, you could see that he had everything dialed-in.”
“Shope was well respected by Civil Air Patrol cadets and senior members alike,” recalls Welliver. “Matt was a really great, easy-going kid who truly loved to fly,”said Welliver.


National Transportation and Safety Board Report (
Accident occurred Saturday, July 23, 2011 in Corona, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/07/2012
Aircraft: AMERICAN AVIATION AA-1A, registration: N34299
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Radar data revealed that the introductory instructional flight departed and proceeded toward mountainous terrain adjacent to the intended destination. As the airplane approached the foothills, it entered a series of turns. The radar data did not include altitude information, most likely because the altitude reporting mode of the airplane's transponder was inoperative. A witness, located in her residence near the accident site, observed the airplane flying unusually low along the ridgeline. The airplane then made an abrupt, swooping, and descending turn. As it began to roll out of the turn, the wings started to rock from side to side, and the airplane then immediately descended nose-down into the ground. The airplane did not appear to be trailing smoke or vapor, and the engine was producing a sound consistent with high power throughout the maneuver.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that the airplane struck the ground in a near vertical nose-down attitude. The impact attitude and the witness’s description of the rocking wings followed by an immediate nose-down descent both are consistent with an aerodynamic stall. Analysis of the radar data revealed that, in the final turn, the airplane was flying at a speed of about 77 knots with a turn radius of about 400 feet. To achieve the turn radius observed would have required a bank angle between 50 and 60 degrees with an associated increase in load factor that would have caused the airplane's stall speed to match or exceed its airspeed. The airplane's design was such that uncoordinated flight control input close to stall speed could result in an unrecoverable spin.

Examination of the airplane's structure, the majority of which was consumed by postaccident fire, and the engine, which sustained heavy thermal damage, did not reveal any mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

An aggressive flight maneuver performed by the pilot during low altitude flight, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.


The Press Enterprise,02 August 2011
CORONA: Flight instructor, 18, student, 19, died in June 23 crash By RICHARD BROOKS | The Press-Enterprise

A young flight instructor and his student were killed in a fiery plane crash only 10 minutes after their plane took off from Chino Airport, according to federal investigators.
Eighteen-year-old instructor Matthew Paul Shope, of Long Beach, and 19-year-old Pedro Torres, of Pomona, were aboard the single-engine American Aviation AA-1A that slammed into the foothills of the Cleveland National Forest near the 4000 block of Suzie Circle south of Corona at 10:25 a.m. June 23. The crash ignited a one-acre wildfire. The plane was operated by Chino-based Duke's Flying Club. "According to the manager of DFC, the flight was an introductory lesson for the student pilot with a destination of Lake Mathews, located about 15 miles southeast of Chino," says the National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary report. "He stated that the (instructor) joined DFC in June ... and that this was his second flight with the club." The crash was witnessed by a neighborhood resident who first noticed the plane from her bedroom. Planes often fly over the area but this time the sound seemed much louder and lower than usual, so she ran outside to look, she told investigators.
The plane was flying just above a ridgeline when it made an abrupt swooping and descending left turn toward her, according to the report. "She described the turn as extravagant and similar to an aerobatic maneuver typically seen at air shows," investigators wrote. "As the airplane began to roll out of the turn, the wings started to rock from side to side. "The airplane then immediately descended nose-down into the ground." American Aviation built the AA-A1 in 1971 as it phased out its AA-1 "Yankee" model, which suffered through a number of safety issues, according to an article published by Aviation Consumer magazine in 1989. The AA-A1 model was designated as a trainer. In 1973, soon after Grumman Corporation purchased American Aviation, the Federal Aviation Administration issued an airworthiness directive prohibiting spins in the Model AA-1A, which the agency warned "might lead to accidental spin entry." The agency required the installation of placards by Grumman American Aviation Corporation, the aircraft's manufacturer at the time, warning pilots of the risk. Staff writer David Keck contributed to this report.


Published in the Long Beach Press-Telegram on August 12, 2011
It is with great sadness that we must inform family and friends that Matthew Paul Shope, born November 2, 1992, passed away on July 23, 2011 at the age of 18 doing what he loved, flying! Matthew graduated from EPHS/Long Beach Unified June 17, 2011 having attended school at Los Alamitos High School, McAuliffe Middle School and Los Altos Brethren Elementary, playing the trumpet in each of these schools' jazz bands. Matt was very active in the Civil Air Patrol, Young Eagles, EAA, and was well known in the world of small aircraft aviation doing most of his flying out of Long Beach and Chino airports. Matthew is survived by his mother, Paula Urbom-Shope; sister, Mariah Shope; cousin, Terry Shope; grandfather, Paul Urbom; grandmother, Anna Shope; and many other family and friends. Celebration of Matt's life will be held at the Los Alamitos Joint Training Base on August 13, 2011, Base Theater, 10:00 a.m. A reception will be held immediately following the service at Los Altos Grace Brethren Church in Long Beach.


Video taken minutes after the crash -