NTSB preliminary report: Plane
headed to Kern County when crashed

August 14, 2015
Santa Paula News

A plane that crashed into South Mountain oil fields near Santa Paula killing its pilot August 1 was headed for Kern County, although its registration had expired the day before.

A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board stated that a Cessna P337G crashed into the mountains about 9:05 a.m. three miles east of the Santa Paula Airport. 

Three minutes before the crash a witness saw James “Jim” Breeding, 82 of Ojai, takeoff from the runway at the airport heading east, the report stated.

About five hours later at 2 p.m. an employee with the California Resources Corporation that was working in the area located the wreckage over the side of a road on the private property.

Investigators determined the plane was headed for California City in Kern County.

Breeding had recently listed the airplane with an online airplane broker, asking $89,500 for the six-seat Cessna manufactured in 1972; the plane was marketed as a “Hangared California Plane,” for the last 25 years, with “near new” tires, brakes and battery. The Cessna noted the ad, had “Very good windows and interior.”

Breeding had been the registered owner with a Talkeetna, Alaska P.O. Box as his address since 2008. The registration for the plane—which had one engine in front and other at the rear—expired July 31.

Some at the airport speculated that Breeding was taking the plane to California City to complete its sale. 

The Santa Paula Fire Department was the first on the scene of the crash, which was initially reported as a car over the side of the road. 

A SPFD official said the morning fog, which didn’t clear until the afternoon could have been a factor in the crash and discovery of the wreckage.

The findings of the NTSB report including witness statements conflicted with officials’ initial statements that it appeared the crash had occurred earlier in the week and the victim had been dead for several days

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