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Plane Crash Kills 2 Flight Students, Instructor

March 02, 2005|From a Times Staff Writer

Two Japanese flight students and their Redlands-based instructor died when their light plane crashed into a mountainside above Yucaipa during a night training flight, officials said Tuesday.

Donn Walker, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the single-engine Piper Cherokee took off from Redlands Municipal Airport about 6 p.m. Monday for planned maneuvers at nearby San Bernardino International Airport. Officials said the plane was reported missing about four hours later, when it failed to return to Redlands.

Hikers spotted the wreckage at the 4,000-foot level of the San Bernardino Mountains on Tuesday afternoon. Searchers said there were no survivors.

The identities of the victims, all adult men, were withheld pending notification of relatives.

Walker said the plane was registered to MI Air, a flight school based at the Redlands airport.

Employees at MI Air referred all inquiries to airport manager Charlotte Kranenburg.

Kranenburg said student pilots frequently train at San Bernardino International, a large but little-used airfield that had been Norton Air Force Base.

Neither airport has a control tower, so flights in the area are not closely monitored. Why the plane was flying in high terrain about eight miles southeast of the two airports was not immediately clear.

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