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The Reba McEntire Band: The NTSB Report

On 15 March 1991, country crooner Reba McEntire finished a show in California. While she decided to stay the night in San Diego, her band piled into two Hawker-Siddeley planes destined for Indiana. Unfortunatley, one of the aircraft slammed into a mountain moments after take-off. On board were Chris Autin (vocals, guitar, mandolin), age 27; Kirk Capello (keyboards), age 28; Joey Cigainero (synthesizer), age 27; Paula Kaye Evans (vocals), age 33; Terry Jackson (bass), age 28; Tony Saputo (drums), age 34; Michael Thomas (guitar), age 34; Jim Hammond (road manager), age 40; and two others, including the pilot. McEntire dedicated her 1991 album "From My Broken Heart" to the fallen musicians.

Crash site

The wreckage.

NTSB Identification: LAX91FA132.

The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 44636.

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation

Accident occurred Saturday, March 16, 1991 in SAN DIEGO, CA

Probable Cause Approval Date: 9/11/1992

Aircraft: Hawker Siddeley DH.125-1A/522, registration: N831LC

Injuries: 10 Fatal.

After flying psnl of entertainment group to Lindbergh Fld, acft was psnd to nrby Brown Fld, since late dep was planned after noise curfew was in effect at Lindbergh. Plt talked with FSS specialist (splst) 3 times bfr tkof. He rprtd he did not have inst dep proc fm arpt. Splst read dep proc on phone. On last call to FSS, plt said he planned to dep vfr twd ne & obtain ifr clnc after airborne. (This rte was twd mts.) Drg call, plt expressed concern abt remaining clr of TCA & inquired abt staying blo 3000'. Splst agreed with plts concerns, but after acdnt, splst said he thought plt was referring to 3000' agl, rather than 3000' msl. Plt had filed to tkof at midnight, but didn't get airborne until 0141 PST. Since flt was ovr 1.5 hrs late, IFR flt plan had "clocked out." As ctrl was reentering flt plan in computer, acft hit rising trrn nr yop of mtn, abt 8 mi NE of arpt at elev of abt 3300'. no dificiencies were fnd with acft or its engs. Coplt had no type rating for this acft, tho he rprtdly had made 3 tkofs & lndgs in Hawker-Siddeley DH.125.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

Improper planning/decision by the pilot, the pilot's failure to maintain proper altitude and clearance over mountainous terrain, and the copilot's failure to adequately monitor the progress of the flight. Factors related to the aircraft were: insufficient terrain information provided by the flight service specialist during the preflight briefing after the pilot inquired about a low altitude departure, darkness, mountainous terrain, both pilot's lack of familiarity with the geographical area, and the copilot's lack of familiarity with the aircraft.

The following photos are from the 1 April 1991 issue of People magazine.

Reba McEntire's band space saver Reba McEntire's band

Paul Kaye Evans space saver McEntire with Jim Hammond

Paula Kaye Evans; McEntire with road manager, Jim Hammond.