Latest plane crash in Orange County is not the first accident related to John Wayne Airport

ME.Crash.152.0623.CC––John Wayne Airport––A 757 taxis by a Cessna 152 that had crashed on the grass
A Cessna 152 lies upside down after crashing in June 1998 on the grass between the two runways at John Wayne Airport. The student pilot was killed.
(Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times)

A twin engine Cessna with two aboard crashed on the 405 Freeway in Costa Mesa on Friday morning while coming in for a landing at John Wayne Airport. It is not the first aircraft accident involving the facility. Here are a few.

Feb. 13, 2017 Actor Harrison Ford was landing his single-engine Aviat Husky when he flew dangerously close to an American Airlines Boeing 737 awaiting departure. The actor was cleared to use Runway 20L, but he landed instead on the adjacent Taxiway Charlie. No one was hurt.

Nov. 9, 2002 A V–tailed Beechcraft Bonanza made a crash landing that injured the couple on board. The pilot was trying to land about 1:45 p.m. when the plane went down in a dirt patch short of one of the two runways, resulting in its closure for two hours. Commercial flights continue to operate on the other runway.

June 24, 1998 A 49-year-old student pilot was killed when his rented Cessna 152 flipped and crashed on approach for landing in the late afternoon.


Witnesses said the aircraft suddenly plummeted to the ground upside down in a grassy area near the end of the runways. Federal Aviation Administration investigators suspected that the plane encountered wake turbulence from a Boeing 757 that had landed a few minutes earlier.

Aug. 12, 1997 A single-engine Cessna, built in 1949, crashed on a freeway connector from the 405 Freeway to State Route 55 while coming in for a landing. The pilot suffered minor injuries.

Witnesses said the plane appeared to be wobbling and its engine idling as it flew over a parking lot near the airport. The crash closed two lanes of the 405 for about three hours to make room for airport emergency vehicles.

Nov. 30, 1996 Shortly after takeoff, a small private jet crashed through the roof of an Irvine warehouse, killing the three people aboard and causing employees to flee the manufacturing complex.


The twin-engine Morane Sauliner 760 took off about 1 p.m., but the pilot sent a distress signal moments later and tried to return to the airport. The plane plummeted into the Baxter Healthcare Corp. complex about a mile north of the airport and burst into flames. No one on the ground was hurt.

Dec. 15, 1993 A chartered Westwind business jet, carrying two crew members and three passengers, including Rich Snyder, the president of In-N-Out Burger, crashed while on approach for landing. All were killed.

The aircraft had followed a Boeing 757 on the way to the airport and became caught in the jetliner’s strong wake turbulence. The business jet rolled over into a deep descent and crashed near the intersection of State Route 55 and Edinger Avenue in Santa Ana.

The crash investigation resulted in a new federal aviation rule, requiring enough time between heavy aircraft and following light aircraft to allow wake turbulence to diminish.

Feb. 17, 1981 An Air California Boeing 737 flying from San Jose crashed after initiating a go-around while coming in to land.

The crew was cleared to use Runway 19R, although the controller had cleared another flight to take off from the same runway. Upon realizing the mistake, the controller ordered the Air California flight to go around and the other aircraft to abort its takeoff.

The Air California captain delayed the go-around and started to put the landing gear up before a satisfactory rate of climb was achieved. This caused the plane to stall.

The 737 banked left at low altitude, causing the left wingtip to strike the runway. Then the nose came down and struck the ground. The aircraft pirouetted and skidded down the runway before coming to rest.


Four passengers received minor injuries. The other 91 passengers and five crew members were unhurt. The aircraft was damaged beyond repair.

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