Pilot warned about bad weather before crash
February 23, 2019
Ruhenstroth resident Tony Pastini was told he might be flying into a microburst when he took off from a California airport on Feb. 3, according to preliminary report.
During take-off clearance, a Fullerton Municipal Airport air traffic controller cautioned Pastini about deteriorating weather.
While the weather was fine at the airport, precipitation, rain showers and microbursts were reported near where Pastini's aircraft went down.
Pastini was flying home to Minden-Tahoe Airport, according to the report.
Radar data shows Pastini's Cessna 414 climbed to 7,800 feet before it started a rapid, descending right turn.
"Numerous witnesses who were located near the accident site, saw the airplane exit the clouds at a high rate of descent before parts of the airplane started to break off," safety officials recounted. "One witness reported that he 'observed an aircraft emerge from the overcast layer on a northwesterly heading with a nose down pitch of approximately 60 degrees,'" the report said.
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The witness said the aircraft attempted a high-speed dive recovery and that as it approached the bottom of the maneuver, it began to roll to its right, losing the left horizontal stabilizer and then the left wing sheared off just outside the left engine, setting the wing on fire.
The aircraft struck a Yorba Linda home where four people were killed. Inside investigators found fragments of the outboard right wing including the fuel tank.
Pastini, 75, was visiting his daughter in California.
Revelations that Pastini was not his birth name and that his claims to having been a Chicago police officer were untrue led to speculation that foul play might have been involved in the crash.
The Record-Courier received media inquiries from California television stations and newspapers regarding a 2010 story where Pastini pointed out he only vaguely resembled the person in a Secret Witness photo.
Pastini was the owner of Sushi & Teri Kim Lee's Japanese Restaurant in Carson City. The original restaurant opened in 1991 and moved in 2008.
A Gardnerville outlet opened in 2009 and closed in 2014.