Civil Air Patrol Cadet Flight Instructor Dies in Crash

American Aviation AA-1A Trainer, N34299
American Aviation AA-1A Trainer, N34299

By AuxBeacon News Contributor

[Editor’s Note: We received an anonymous tip regarding this crash. Thank you for your contribution. He received the majority of his flight training from the Civil Air Patrol. This plane crash in California was attributed to pilot error.]

POMONA – Investigators have ruled a plane crash that killed a Pomona man and a pilot last year was the result of an aggressive flight maneuver performed by the newly licensed flight instructor at a low altitude, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Pedro Torres, 19, of Pomona and the pilot, Cadet Matthew P. Shope, 18, of Los Angeles, died July 23, 2011 when their plane crashed in Corona.

The report on the crash released last week stated Torres was taking an introductory lesson from Shope after leaving Chino Airport that morning.

A witness stated she saw the airplane make an abrupt, swooping and descending left turn.

She described it as “extravagant” and similar to an aerobatic maneuver typically seen at air shows.

The witness also reported the airplane began to roll out of the turn sending the craft nose-first into the ground.

The impact was so violent that parts of the airplane were scattered for dozens of feet around the crash site and caused the wreckage to burst into flames.

Shope had been issued his private pilot certificate with a glider rating in November 2008.

He then received his commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine and instrument airplane on January 24, 2011.

About four months before the fatal crash, he was issued his certified flight instructor certificate, records show. At the time, he applied for his instructor’s certificate, Shope had logged about 350 flight hours.

Investigators determined it didn’t appear there was anything mechanically wrong with the airplane.


C/CMSgt Matthew P. Shope
November 4, 1992 – July 23, 2011

Civil Air Patrol Cadet Chief Master Sgt Matthew Paul Shope died in a non-CAP related single engine airplane crash in Corona, California, bordering the Cleveland National Forest, on Saturday July 23, 2011. He was 18.

Shope was born in November 1992 and resided in Long Beach. Shope is survived by his mother, 1st Lt Paula Shope, CAP, and his younger sister, Mariah Shope. Shope attended Los Alamitos High School and hoped to attend Cypress College in the fall. Shope joined the Civil Air Patrol Los Alamitos Glider Training Squadron 41 in June 2007, and later transferred to the Fullerton Composite Squadron 56.

Shope’s love of aviation began when he received an introductory flight for his 13th birthday. At 14, Shope soloed in a glider after completing flight lessons at the Los Alamitos Glider Training Squadron 41 and received his FAA Glider Pilot license on his 15th birthday. At 16, Shope soloed a powered aircraft, and received his FAA Private Pilot license at 17.

Shope continued to train and earn additional FAA certifications, including passing the FAA Commercial Pilot license exam at 18. Shope earned an FAA Ground Instructor certificate and was a Certified Flight Instructor. Shope was using his CFI rating to help build flight hours towards his Airline Transport Pilot license to become a commercial airline pilot.

“Matt truly lived to fly, and flied to live,” said Maj Grant Henninger, Squadron 56 Commander.

Matthew Shope

C/CMSgt Matthew P. Shope

While a member of the Civil Air Patrol, Shope attended two cadet encampments and several National Cadet Special Activities including the Air Force Pararescue Orientation Course at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, and the National Blue Beret at Oshkosh, WI. Shope also attended the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Familiarization Course at Columbus Air Force base, MS, and the National Emergency Services Academy at Camp Atterbury, Indiana.

Shope was very active in Emergency Services and training to become a Civil Air Patrol Mission Pilot. “His drive to participate in Emergency Services was so infections that it encouraged other cadets and even a few senior members to participate in Emergency Services,” Henninger said.

He was a confident and excellent pilot, with a true passion for flying, said Lt Col James Welliver, Squadron 41 Commander. “Every time I flew with Matt, you could see that he had everything dialed-in.”

“Shope was well respected by Civil Air Patrol cadets and senior members alike,” recalls Welliver. “Matt was a really great, easy-going kid who truly loved to fly,”said Welliver.

National Transportation and Safety Board Report