What is Instrument Landing? Cessna C550 Crashes at Airport Near Los Angeles, Killing All Six Passengers

Six people traveling in a business jet died after the aircraft crashed near Los Angeles in California on Saturday. The privately-owned Cessna C550 crashed about 500 feet from the runway at a small airport near Los Angeles.

Everyone aboard the plane, all adults, dies after fire engulfed all but the tail of the aircraft as it crash-landed. According to reports, the plane was attempting an instrument landing following an unusual weather phenomenon that stalled regular landing.

Los Angeles plane crash
Los Angeles plane crash video grab

What is Instrument Landing?

The instrument landing system allows the pilots to land at an airport without even seeing the runway during unusual weather phenomena. The system facilitates safe landing using a combination of radio signals, enabling landing even during challenging conditions such as low visibility.

"The instrument landing system (ILS) is a highly directional guidance system with horizontal and vertical guidance components (called a localiser and a glideslope) that provides precision guidance down a glide path (typically from 20nm or less distance) to the runway," explains ScienceDirect.

Aborted Landing

According to NPR, the business jet departed from the Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas and was flying to the French Valley Airport in Murrieta, California. The small aircraft aborted the first landing attempt due to bad weather and crashed during a second landing attempt, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

According to the sheriff's office in Riverside County, the aircraft was fully engulfed in flames. All six passengers were declared dead at the scene.

Days earlier a pilot died and three passengers were seriously injured when a small aircraft crashed near the same airport.