It seems like just weeks ago I wrote Bay Area Plane Lands on Highway. And today I awoke to find that we've had yet another episode of poor judgement on behalf of a local pilot.
According to the Merc:
A pilot and two passengers in a small plane emerged unscathed Sunday after an emergency landing near Reid-Hillview Airport.
Ack. Reid-Hillview is not an airport where you want to come up short. On final approach when landing to the north, you fly over a good sized field (okay to land on if you're careful), then a mall (one pilot landed on the roof there a few years back), Tully Road (very hard to land on), and then the airport fence (ouch!). See for yourself.
The plane, a Beechcraft, ran out of gas, forcing the pilot to land on Tully Road several hundred feet short of Reid-Hillview's runway, according to Bruce Nelson, an official with the Federal Aviation Administration. The plane, which missed some cars, wound up in a field near Tully, officials said.
That leads me to believe that he ran out of gas on his downwind leg (see Airfield Traffic Pattern), turned base abeam Tully, and then decided to ditch on the road after he lost too much altitude.
Hmm. Did anyone get hurt?
The pilot and two passengers were not injured, but the plane was severely damaged in the incident, which occurred shortly before 3 p.m. The pilot ran out of gas because he did not properly switch gas tanks, officials said.
Okay, there are two things I can conclude from that accident cause:
- Planes that require tank switching are more dangerous. The last accident was also the result of a pilot having sufficient fuel but not switching tanks. Why don't more planes have fuel cross-feed systems?
- If the passengers weren't hurt but the plane was severely damaged, he probably ran off the road and plowed into a fence at fairly high speed (depending on the exact model Beechcraft, it likely had a reasonably high landing speed). If that's not the case, he may have clipped the wings on the utility poles on either side of the road.
On Saturday I performed seven landings on the runway this pilot missed. The difference is that my instructors teach us to fly a pattern close enough to the airport that you can make the runway even if your engine dies. I'm not sure why everyone doesn't learn that method. Coming from the background of flying gliders, it makes a hell of a lot of sense.
Posted by jzawodn at February 13, 2006 07:28 AM