The fuselage of a Cessna 180 flown by Michael Brannigan, 52, of Lake Sherwood, crashed onto oil lease property Thursday while other debris was scattered on the beach. Brannigan was killed in the accident.

Pilot killed last week east of Solimar Beach familiar figure at SP Airport

June 07, 2017
Santa Paula News

The pilot killed Thursday in the hills east of Solimar Beach was a well-known figure at Santa Paula Airport where he kept his plane.The pilot killed Thursday in the hills east of Solimar Beach was a well-known figure at Santa Paula Airport where he kept his plane.

Last week Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the pilot in the June 1 accident as Michael Brannigan, 52, of Lake Sherwood, who died of blunt force injuries when his Cessna 180 crashed after apparently breaking up in the air. 

Brannigan had a certificate to fly as a private pilot; his plane was built in 1954, according to Federal Aviation Administration records. His current pilot’s license was issued in March 2010.

As of Friday it was still not known where the plane’s flight originated or its destination although reportedly Brannigan’s car was parked at his hangar at Santa Paula Airport.

Brannigan’s plane was flying over the coast near Solimar Beach when for unknown reasons it apparently suffered some sort of catastrophic failure and crashed into an oil lease in a canyon just east of there.

While the main section of the plane came down in that oil field, pieces of debris were found scattered along the beach.

Due to the wide area of the debris — the wrecked fuselage on private land was found well north of the beach — and a witness account given to first on the scene emergency responders, an extensive ground and air search was launched for a second aircraft that could have collided with Brannigan’s Cessna, but none was found.

Brannigan was a well-known photographer with David Michael Photography, located in Westlake Village. 

He wrote on the company website that he discovered photography at age 14 and although he was a professional at 17, “I never thought that photography would become my ultimate passion and career of choice.”

He noted decades later, “The things that I focus on are still very similar in its core as when I was a budding wedding and studio photographer at a young age. The nuance of how light frames a photo, capturing the raw and natural feelings of a moment, its spontaneity, joy, believability, and ultimately the stories of our photos. Because that’s what life’s all about — your timeless stories, free of trends and filled with enduring, authentic passion, warmth, and excitement. It always has been and forever will be my honor to tell your story, become part of your family, and capture the priceless, beautiful moments of your life events through photography.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

By Peggy Kelly

Santa Paula Times 

The pilot killed Thursday in the hills east of Solimar Beach was a well-known figure at Santa Paula Airport where he kept his plane.

Last week Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the pilot in the June 1 accident as Michael Brannigan, 52, of Lake Sherwood, who died of blunt force injuries when his Cessna 180 crashed after apparently breaking up in the air. 

Brannigan had a certificate to fly as a private pilot; his plane was built in 1954, according to Federal Aviation Administration records. His current pilot’s license was issued in March 2010.

As of Friday it was still not known where the plane’s flight originated or its destination although reportedly Brannigan’s car was parked at his hangar at Santa Paula Airport.

Brannigan’s plane was flying over the coast near Solimar Beach when for unknown reasons it apparently suffered some sort of catastrophic failure and crashed into an oil lease in a canyon just east of there.

While the main section of the plane came down in that oil field, pieces of debris were found scattered along the beach.

Due to the wide area of the debris — the wrecked fuselage on private land was found well north of the beach — and a witness account given to first on the scene emergency responders, an extensive ground and air search was launched for a second aircraft that could have collided with Brannigan’s Cessna, but none was found.

Brannigan was a well-known photographer with David Michael Photography, located in Westlake Village. 

He wrote on the company website that he discovered photography at age 14 and although he was a professional at 17, “I never thought that photography would become my ultimate passion and career of choice.”

He noted decades later, “The things that I focus on are still very similar in its core as when I was a budding wedding and studio photographer at a young age. The nuance of how light frames a photo, capturing the raw and natural feelings of a moment, its spontaneity, joy, believability, and ultimately the stories of our photos. Because that’s what life’s all about — your timeless stories, free of trends and filled with enduring, authentic passion, warmth, and excitement. It always has been and forever will be my honor to tell your story, become part of your family, and capture the priceless, beautiful moments of your life events through photography.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.





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