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Report Says Pilot Erred in '93 Crash : Aviation: Inquiry finds that plane was flying too low and carrying too much weight. Three died in Santa Monica accident.

March 23, 1995|SCOTT SHIBUYA BROWN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The post-Thanksgiving Day airplane crash that killed three people--including the son of filmmaker Sydney Pollack--16 months ago in Santa Monica was the result of pilot error, according to a report released by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The plane, which rammed into the carport of an apartment complex at 325 Bay St., apparently carried too much weight and was flying too slow and at too low an altitude, said the report, which was released Monday.

Killed in the Nov. 26, 1993, crash were Steven Pollack, 34, of Marin County, and David Lyon, 36, of Westchester, a student pilot. The pilot and flight instructor, Roy Belzer, 40, of Culver City, died several weeks later from injuries sustained in the crash.

According to the report, the plane, a low-wing Marchetti M260, was flying at an elevation of 800 feet, though regulations require flights over populated areas to be at least 1,000 feet.

The flight might also have been affected by the weight of the three men. The report said that having a passenger in the back seat of the small, lightweight Marchetti could make the aircraft difficult to handle at low speeds.

Monday's report was the third released recently by the NTSB regarding crashes from Santa Monica Airport, one of the nation's busiest single-runway airfields.

Last year, the airport had more than 207,000 takeoffs and landings.

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