Lancair Crashes on Busy Van Nuys Street

An experimental Lancair 320 crashed around 1:15 p.m. on Friday shortly after departing from Van Nuys Airport in Southern California, an FAA spokesman said.

The Lancair ended its short journey at the busy intersection of Hayvenhurst Ave. and Vanowen St., at the departure end of Runway 16R. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash. Nobody on the ground was injured, but the pilot sustained fatal injuries as a result of the crash.

While reports indicate that there was only a minor fire, the cockpit area of the single-engine two-seat airplane was completely destroyed. The FAA identified the Lancair as N7ZL, built by Robert Gibbs. While no date was published for the completion of the airplane, the engine received its airworthiness certificate in 1996, according to FAA records. The current owner and victim of the crash was identified as Alberto Behar of Scottsdale, Arizona.

Behar, 47, was a flight instructor for airplanes and helicopters, the Los Angeles Times said. He worked as a scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Pasadena and a research professor at Arizona State University.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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