Biplane Crash Kills Father, Injures Son

By R. Stickney and Steven Luke
|  Tuesday, Jan 11, 2011  |  Updated 11:57 AM PDT
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WWII-Era Biplane Crashes in Warner Springs

Steven Luke

The wreckage of the biplane is taped off by investigators the morning after the crash.

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Pilot error is to blame for a deadly crash involving a World War II-era plane at Warner Springs Airport according to investigators.

Pilot Richard Hawkins, 87, and his son, Don Hawkins, 60, were injured when their World War II-era plane crashed just before 5:30 p.m. Monday.

Firefighters said the small single-engine biplane was in pieces when they arrived and appeared to have flipped end-over-end on landing.

Both men were airlifted to local hospitals with serious injuries, according to firefighters. Don Hawkins was coherent when rescue crews arrived. He was in serious condition Tuesday at Palomar Hospital. Richard Hawkins died from his injuries Tuesday morning according to a hospital spokesperson.

FAA investigators spent just a short time combing through the wreckage at the far end of the remote runway. At this point, they are not saying if the pilot's age had anything to do with the crash.

According to our media partners the North County Times, the men started the flight at French Valley Airport and were headed to Borrego Springs but decided to land in Warner Springs because they were losing daylight and visibility.

Initial evidence showed the plane clipped a wind sock next to the runway, flipping it over and leaving it on its side a short distance later.

Wind is believed to be a big contributing factor in the crash.

FAA records show the plane was made in 1942 and is registered to an address in Fallbrook.

Warner Springs Airport is a day use airport, mainly used for gliders, so there are no lights on the runway.
 

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