MEXICO (AP) — A small plane carrying Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera went missing early Sunday after taking off from the city of Monterrey, authorities in northern Mexico confirmed Sunday.
Jorge Domene, spokesman for the Nuevo Leon state government, told Milenio television on Sunday that the plane left Monterrey about 3:30 a.m local time after a concert there and aviation authorities lost contact with the craft about 10 minutes later. It had been scheduled to arrive in Toluca, which is located outside Mexico City, about an hour later.
Domene said a search for the plane was launched early Sunday, with helicopters from the local civilian protection agency flying over the state. He said seven people including the crew were believed to be aboard the U.S.-registered Learjet 25.
The 43-year-old who was born and raised in Long Beach, California, is known for her interpretations of Mexican regional music known as nortena and banda.
Was this 1969 vintage Lear required to have a CVR and FDR?
IIRC, part 91(whatever appendix pertains to large and turbine aircraft) requires two crew turbine powered aircraft with 6 or more pax seats to have a CVR. FDR only required for 10 or more pax seats aircraft. So it seems likely to me that this Lear was probably equipped with a CVR.
If the news stories description the wreck site is anything resembling reality then a CVR with recoverable audio might be a real lucky find.
The crash site is near Guadalajara about 30 minutes from Toluca, their destination. The terrain around Monterrey however can be challenging, I've lived there for a few years - high mountains and snakey valleys. They were, however, not in this area when things went wrong.
Edit: Wonder why they flew towards Guadalajara, however, as this is not on the path from MTY to Toluca either. The investigation will show...
Last edited by HeadingSouth; 10th Dec 2012 at 07:38.
It's relatively rough around there. The first time I went there was at night in VMC. The next day when we flew out I became a true believer in our policy for following IAPs at unfamiliar airports at night! Ironically we were flying a very popular Mexican band on an extended performance tour at the time.
On a direct course to MMTO, the terrain south of Monterrey is quite mountainous though jets are normally above the highest terrain within just a few short minutes after departure. Obviously something non normal occurred and we won't know what it was for quite some time if ever.
FAA registry search shows it is owned by a Fractional corporation in Las Vegas probably leased to fly charter flights. Having done much of the same type of Lear Jet flying with departures after their concert in the wee hours I understand if they find out fatigue had something to do with the crash.
Sinatra's mothers Lear out of Palm Springs was before his Las Vegas show when they turned west into the mountains so must have been in the early evening. My buddy flew Frank in our charter Lear 25 for a long time after that crash. He still has two bottles of Blue Eyes wine Frank gave him for Christmas one year. The FO drank his two bottles, don't know if they are worth anything after all these years.
My room mate had his Lear 25 seized in Rio and spent a month in prison until my buddy went down there, same one, and got an attorney to get him and the Lear released. One of the passengers had a satchel full of cocaine in the plane and customs found it.
There a picture on some newssites which appears to be a temporary airman certificate valid for probably one of the pilots, but it seems to be VFR only and it states that it's not valid for the carriage of persons:
Sinatra's mothers Lear out of Palm Springs was before his Las Vegas show when they turned west into the mountains so must have been in the early evening.
It was daytime, but IMC in rain with one of those big systems that occasionally affects KPSP.
In those days KPSP had a non-radar approach control. The clearance was somewhat complex via airways to Goffs VOR; in other words generally to the east. The initial assigned altitude as 9,000, which was plenty safe for the cleared route of flight.
But, the crew were early generation "radar babies." The assumed they were getting vectors so they maintained runway heading (310) until they flew into the side of 11,500' Mt. San Gorgonio. A center supervisor was watching for them to show up on radar to the east of PSP and he realized something was terribly wrong. But, the Lear was still with KPSP non-radar approach control. The supervisor got on the direct line to approach control and shouted, "Tell them to immediately climb to 14,000!"
Alas, it was too late. They impacted 9,000' terrain some 20 miles NW of the airport.
BTW, earlier the KPSP approach controller asked them to report crossing a couple of radials, which would have confirmed they were on the assigned easterly routing. I believe the crew reported those radials even though they couldn't have possibly crossed them on runway heading.
Looks like 1934 even with the folds. A lot of 78 year old guys are still flying jets, just not airliners. I know several in late 60's still doing it. I can't imagine him being alert at that age at that time of night. I couldn't do it so bid day trips before I was 60.
Rugged terrain, but with only sporadic peaks reaching 10,000 ft/3300 m. That seems pretty low for a Lear after 10 minutes of climb, unless there was some other factor that kept them unusually low (pressurization failure, ATC restriction).
But this report does mention they had only "reached 11,000 feet..."