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WW24, vicinity John Wayne Airport Santa Ana CA USA, 1993

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On 15 December 1993, the crew of an IAI Westwind on a domestic passenger charter flight failed to leave sufficient separation between their aircraft and the Boeing 757 ahead on finals in night VMC and lost control or their aircraft which crashed killing all occupants and destroying the aircraft in the impact and post-crash fire.
Event Details
When December 1993
Actual or Potential
Event Type
Fire Smoke and Fumes, Wake Vortex Turbulence
Day/Night Night
Flight Conditions VMC
Flight Details
Aircraft IAI 1124 Westwind
Operator Martin Aviation
Domicile United States
Type of Flight Public Transport (Passenger)
Origin La Verne
Intended Destination Santa Ana
Take off Commenced Yes
Flight Airborne Yes
Flight Completed No
Flight Phase Descent
Location - Airport
Airport vicinity Santa Ana
Tag(s) Inadequate ATC Procedures
Tag(s) Post Crash Fire
Tag(s) Inappropriate crew response - skills deficiency,
Ineffective Monitoring,
Pilot Medical Fitness
Tag(s) Flight Management Error,
Aerodynamic Stall
Tag(s) ICAO Standard Wake Separation not met,
Own separation,
In trail event
Damage or injury Yes
Aircraft damage Hull loss
Fatalities Most or all occupants ()
Causal Factor Group(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Operation
Safety Recommendation(s)
Group(s) None Made
Investigation Type
Type Independent


On December 15, 1993, the crew of an IAI 1124A Westwind being operated by Martin Aviation on a passenger charter flight from La Verne CA to Santa Ana CA lost control of their aircraft and it crashed about 3.5 nm6,482 m <br />6.482 km <br />21,266.404 ft <br /> north of Santa Ana Airport. The aircraft commander, acting as pilot flying (PF) was making a visual night approach behind a Boeing 757-200. The aircraft was destroyed by the impact and all five occupants were killed.


An investigation carried out by the National Transportation Safety Board (USA) (NTSB) found that:

"The (Boeing) 757 & the WW (Westwind) were sequenced for visual approaches behind (a) Beech. Before being cleared for visual approach, the WW was closing 3.5 miles from the 757 on a converging course. The 757 & WW crews were told to slow to 150 kts. The 757 slowed below 150 kts & was high on final approach with a 5.6 degree descent. The WW continued to converge to about 2.1 mi behind the 757 on a 3 deg apch. ATC did not specifically advise, and was not required by ATC handbook to advise, the WW pilots that they were behind a Boeing 757. (The Captain of the WW) discussed possible wake turbulence, flew (the) ILS 1 dot high, noted closeness to the 757 & indicated there should be no problem. While descending (through) approximately 1100 ft amsl, the WW encountered wake turbulence from the 757, rolled into a steep descent & crashed". Subsequently, an anti-histamine medicine not approved for flying was found in the lung tissue of the pilot-in-command.

It was found that the crew had not had any specific wake turbulence training.

Probable Cause(s)

The NTSB determined that the probable cause of this accident was:

The pilot-in-command's failure to maintain adequate separation behind the Boeing 757 and/or remain above its flight path during the approach, which resulted in an encounter with wake vortices from the 757.

It also found that Factors related to the accident were:

  • an inadequacy in the ATC procedure related to visual approaches and VFR operations behind heavier airplanes
  • the (consequent) lack of information to the Westwind pilots for them to determine the relative flight path of their airplane with respect to the Boeing 757's flight path.

The Final Report of the Investigation was adopted on 10 June 1994. No Safety Recommendations were made.

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