Sunday, July 16, 2017

William S. Goldman killed, children, George and Marie, and their caretaker, Valeria Anselmi of Milan, Italy, were seriously injured after he crashed his Cirrus SR22 plane in a field about 1,000 feet west of Sonoma Skypark airport.

Federal aviation investigators Friday remained at the site of a deadly plane crash in the Sonoma Valley that killed William “Bill” Sachs Goldman, a San Francisco history professor and member of a renowned philanthropic family.

Goldman’s school-aged children, George and Marie, and their caretaker, Valeria Anselmi of Milan, Italy, were seriously injured in the crash during takeoff from Sonoma Skypark airport about 12:45 p.m. Thursday and rushed by helicopter and ground ambulances to area hospitals. Their conditions were not available Friday.

Goldman, 38, a University of San Francisco assistant professor of international studies, was piloting a single-engine Cirrus SR22 when the plane went down about two minutes after it took off, crashing in a nearby field east of Highway 12, according to official reports.

Federal investigators gave no preliminary assessment of what may have caused the crash.

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Peter Knudson said an investigator from his agency and the Federal Aviation Administration as well as a technical expert from the airplane and engine manufacturers will participate in a several-day analysis of the crash site.

“They’re looking for any kind of indication something was amiss, with the engines, the power, a propeller,” Knudson said.

From there, the investigation could take six months to a year and involve reviewing the pilot’s record and background, the airplane’s condition and maintenance as well as factors on the ground that day, including weather, flight plans and communication systems.

Goldman’s airplane appeared to have deployed a ballistic parachute, a safety feature unique to a limited number of aircraft models and best used about 400 feet above ground. Investigators will analyze whether Goldman activated the parachute, which operates manually, or if it deployed on impact.

Last year, the manufacturer of Goldman’s airplane, Cirrus Aircraft, was given a safety award by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Air Safety Institute because of the company’s effort to improve its aircraft safety record, which hit a low in 2011 with 16 fatal accidents but has since improved, according to the safety institute.

A key factor to an improved safety record, with an accident rate at about half the industry average according to the organization, was getting pilots to activate the parachute more often.

The ballistic parachute is a unique feature of the plane and functions best at a minimum 400 feet above ground. Goldman’s plane crashed within about two minutes after takeoff and it’s unknown precisely how far above ground the aircraft reached.

Investigators may have to rely on witness statements to estimate the plane’s height because it’s possible the plane never reached an altitude where it might have been detected by radar, according to Knudson. That height depends on the terrain.

“We look at all of those things, and then we come to a determination of probable cause of the crash,” Knudson said.

Goldman was born in Washington, D.C., to Richard Goldman and Susan Sachs Goldman.

He is the grandson of Richard N. and Rhoda H. Goldman, who began the Goldman Environmental Prize honoring people involved in grassroots environmental efforts around the world, often called the “Green Nobel.”

Goldman is married to Serra Falk Goldman, a San Francisco attorney at Falk, Cornell & Associates law firm, who is on the USF School of Law Board of Trustees.

His family couldn’t be reached Friday.

Goldman has taught at University of San Francisco since 2012 as an assistant professor in international studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.

University President Paul Fitzgerald released a statement late Thursday about Goldman, saying the USF community was “devastated,” calling him “an accomplished scholar, a beloved and generous teacher, and a valued member of our community.”

Goldman earned his pilot’s license in 2009 and his medical certification, required of all pilots, was most recently renewed July 11, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor.

Since 2013, Goldman had flown 13 missions helping critically ill patients get to medical appointments and services for a Santa Monica-based charity, Angel Flight West.

Josh Olson, Angel Flight West executive director, said Goldman was based out of San Carlos and flew missions that stretched from southern Oregon to Central California.

His last flight for the organization was on June 1. He flew a Morro Bay woman in her 40s suffering from a seizure disorder and chronic neuropathy to the Bay Area where she was receiving a rare treatment regimen at Stanford University. Goldman was one of about 1,500 pilots in the western United States who donate their time and planes to give adults and children with serious medical conditions or other significant needs free air transportation, often to receive medical treatment.

Olson said the pilots’ donations are significant, given the cost of air travel and the travel time involved.

“Bill and others have repeatedly told me they get more out of it than they’re giving, even though it’s an expensive and time-consuming commitment,” Olson said. “He was a guy who had a zest for life and was really generous.”

Ron Price, manager of Sonoma Skypark, said Goldman first flew into the airport on Tuesday and had told someone at the airport he and his family were leaving on a short trip and planning to return.

The airport has no tower, and pilots are under no obligation to report a flight plan unless they intend to travel in a controlled airspace, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Price was outside when Goldman’s plane took off, and then “I heard an explosion and saw a puff of smoke” in the nearby field on the other side of a road from the airport.

“I am saying a prayer for the kids who are in the hospital,” Price said.

The Sonoma County sheriff’s coroner will conduct a medical examination to determine how Goldman died (perhaps blunt force trauma suffered in a plane crash?) An office spokeswoman said the examination has not yet occurred.


SONOMA COUNTY (CBS SF) — A single-engine plane crashed in Sonoma County Thursday afternoon, killing one person.

A Sonoma County Fire and Emergency dispatcher said the crash happened around 12:45 p.m. in the area of San Luis Road and Broadway south of Sonoma.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane was a single-engine Cirrus SR22 and it crashed in a field about 1,000 feet west of Sonoma Skypark airport.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said one person had been killed and three others aboard the plane taken to a local hospital.

William S. Goldman. (Photo via University of San Francisco)

Officials later identified the man killed as 38-year-old San Francisco resident William Sachs Goldman, who was an assistant professor at the University of San Francisco.

Goldman is the grandson of the late San Francisco philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman.

Goldman’s two grade-school-age children, George and Marie, were also on the plane. They were flown to Children’s Hospital in Oakland. Their current condition has not been released.

Also on board was the children’s nanny, from Milan, Italy. She was transported to Sonoma Valley Hospital by ambulance.


SMALL PLANES CONTINUE TO KILL PEOPLE:  Grandson of Goldman philanthropists killed in Sonoma Valley plane crash, children and nanny injured


THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | July 13, 2017, 1:47PM

The grandson of San Francisco’s renowned philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman died Thursday and his two children and a woman believed to be their nanny were seriously injured when their single-engine Cirrus SR22 plane crashed south of Sonoma soon after takeoff.

William “Bill” S. Goldman, 38, a University of San Francisco assistant professor of international studies, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The woman, Valeria Anselmi of Milan, Italy, and his two grade school age children, George and Marie, were hospitalized.

His wife, Serra Falk Goldman, a San Francisco attorney, could not be reached Thursday. A woman answering the phone at Falk, Cornell & Associates law firm declined comment.

The plane took off from Sonoma Skypark airport around 12:45 p.m., according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, and went down about two minutes later, crashing in a nearby field.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

Assistant Schell-Vista Fire Chief Mike Mulas said a half-dozen civilians arrived at the crash site before emergency personnel and pulled the children from the wreckage.

“All three of the injuries were severe to critical,” Mulas said, adding that emergency medics tried to shield the survivors from Goldman, moving them away from the wreckage.

“It was just a tragic situation, tragic thing,” he said.

The children were taken to Children’s Hospital Oakland by helicopter, one by REACH at 1:45 p.m. and the other by Sheriff’s Office helicopter Henry 1 at 2:07 p.m., according to a Redcom dispatcher. Anselmi was taken by ambulance to Queen of the Valley Hospital at 1:20 p.m.

Neither hospital was able to provide status updates on their conditions.

The Goldman name is attached to several prestigious philanthropic efforts. Best known is the Goldman Environmental Prize, begun by Bill Goldman’s grandparents, Richard N. and Rhoda H. Goldman. It honors grassroots environmental individuals from around the world for significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment. Each winner receives an award of $150,000 — the largest award in the world for grassroots environmentalists — and is often referred to as the “Green Nobel.”

The eponymous foundation gave $700 million to more than 2,500 grantees in its 60 years of existence. The fund closed in 2012.

Numerous other foundations related to the family exist, including the Richard W. Goldman Family Foundation that Bill Goldman and his brother and sister founded in 2012 in memory of their father.

Bill Goldman also served on the board of directors for the New Israel Fund, a nonprofit based in New York City, that supports civil rights and democracy in Israel, and the Walter and Elise Haas Fund in San Francisco that’s dedicated to economic security, education, Jewish life and the arts in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bill Goldman was also a descendant of Levi Strauss, who in 1873 patented denim blue jeans.

He was born and raised in Washington, D.C, the son of Richard Goldman and Susan Sachs Goldman. He attended the Sidwell Friends School, received his undergraduate degree at Yale University, and both his master’s and doctoral degrees from UC Berkeley. He had taught at USF since 2012.

University President Paul Fitzgerald released a statement late Thursday about Goldman, saying the USF community was “devastated,” calling him “an accomplished scholar, a beloved and generous teacher, and a valued member of our community.”

Goldman enjoyed choral music, photography and especially flying for Angel Flight West, a charitable organization providing transportation for critically ill patients and their families.

Goldman’s plane is registered out of Palo Alto but the family lives in San Francisco. The aircraft wasn’t based at the Sonoma Skypark, according to Robin Tatman, president of the airport’s Experimental Aircraft Association chapter.

Cirrus planes are equipped with a unique parachute system that can be deployed in case of emergencies. While there was no official word on whether Goldman deployed his plane’s parachute, a witness thought he did.

Gina Isi, of Sonoma, was on her lunch break outside cork company Ganau America on Carneros Oak Lane in Sonoma watching the runway when she heard the plane take off.

“It was just at the beginning of its ascent, when I heard it — like it was going to stall,” she said. “It sounded like it choked a little bit, so I was like, ‘Holy cow!’ and then it seemed like it was going to recover, like I heard more revving, and then it just died.”

She watched as the plane disappeared behind a grove of trees, and then heard a pop — what she believes was the sound of the parachute.

“He must have deployed it under 200 feet,” she said. Isi said she did not hear the plane crash.

Date: 13-JUL-2017
Time: 12:45
Cirrus SR22T
Owner/operator: DDLV LLC
Registration: N821SG
C/n / msn: 0185
Fatalities: Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities: 0
Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: West of Sonoma Skypark Airport (0Q9), Sonoma, CA - United States of America
Phase: Take off
Nature: Unknown
Departure airport: Sonoma Skypark (0Q9)
Destination airport:

The aircraft experienced a deployment of the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) and impact with open field terrain shortly after takeoff from Sonoma Skypark Airport (0Q9) in Sonoma, California. The airplane sustained substantial damage and one of the four occupants onboard was fatally injured. Three occupants onboard the aircraft received serious injuries. It has not been discerned whether the CAPS was deployed prior to terrain impact at insufficient altitude or as a result of said impact with the terrain.