A preliminary federal report says the pilot whose plane broke up and crashed into a Southern California home was warned before takeoff that he was heading into bad weather.
The two-page National Transportation Safety Board report released Thursday doesn't explain why the Cessna came apart mid-flight on the afternoon of Feb. 3. Investigations into the cause of a crash typically take months.
Pilot Antonio Pastini died along with four people on the ground when the wreckage struck and burned a house in suburban Yorba Linda, south of Los Angeles.
The NTSB says Fullerton Municipal Airport officials informed pilots that developing rain required the switch from navigation by sight to navigation by instruments.
The report doesn't say if Pastini went to instrument navigation. The crash happened just minutes after takeoff. The plane climbed to about 7,800 feet before its rapid descent through heavy clouds.
Witnesses reported seeing the plane come out of the clouds before parts began breaking off. One witness said the plane appeared to have a downward pitch of about 60 degrees before a high-speed dive recovery. Near the bottom of the recovery, the plane rolled to its right and the left horizontal stabilizer detached, according to witness reports.
The left wing then sheared off. Flames appeared to shoot form the plane and witnesses reported an explosion and plume of black smoke.