Since the tragic crash on Super Bowl Sunday of a Cessna 414 cabin class piston twin that killed the pilot and four people on the ground in Yorba Linda, California, details have emerged that raise serious questions about the pilot’s background and certification status.
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The Cessna 414 had just taken off from Fullerton, California, and was climbing in what appeared to be IFR conditions then the plane went out of control. Numerous dashboard and doorbell cams captured video files of the descent. By the time the plane emerged from the overcast, it was already out of control and either had already begun to break up or started breaking up almost immediately. The plane exploded into flames while breaking up several hundred feet in the air. The debris that rained down killed four people who had gathered in the quiet residential community of Yorba Linda in Orange County to watch the Super Bowl and set the home on fire. The fuselage of the plane came down in a drainage area a short distance away from other homes.
The pilot, Antonio Pastini, had on two separate occasions, according to reports in local media, had the FAA take disciplinary action against him, once for flying in IFR conditions, including ice and clouds, way back in 1980, and once for registration irregularities.
Another alarming aspect to the investigation is that authorities initially reported that Pastini was a former Chicago policeman, but that turned out not to be the case. Officials made that determination after they found a badge and ID bearing Pastini’s name in the wreckage of the plane, but it was later determined that the badge and ID were fraudulent. Another unusual element to the story: Pastini has changed his name twice with the FAA.
The NTSB is currently investigating the tragic crash.