Comments for: Truck in fatal plane crash had no beacon light

Posted Nov. 19, 2012, at 11:21 a.m.
Last modified Nov. 19, 2012, at 7:32 p.m.

OWLS HEAD | The pickup truck being driven across the Knox County Regional Airport Friday night — which collided with a small airplane taking off — had no beacon light as is customary. National Transportation Safety Board safety investigator Shawn Etcher said Monday that the 1994 GMC pickup truck …

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  • David Gregg

    my 6 year old daughter can tell/report to you what happened in this plane crash in like 5 minutes. The Government must do everything correct and follow the due process sooo getting straight to the point takes a curtain about of time, i guess…I’m sure it has alot to do with lawyers. but sometimes it’s just a no-brainer!

    • Anonymous

      Your joking right?

    • Anonymous

      If your 6 year old daughter was in that plane crash you bet you’d be wanting answers by the book.

      why are these unfortunate young men’s families any different?

    • I hope for your daughter’s sake you are not home schooling her.

  • Anonymous

    Hey BDN: A 5,000 SQUARE FOOT RUNWAY????

    Impossible!

    A 5,000 foot LONG runway yes.

    In this case, runway 13/31 is 5007′ long x 100′ wide . Runway 3/21 is 4000′ x 100′.

    • Anonymous

      According to investigators, the airplane was taking off on the 5,000-foot runway at the airport and had just gotten off the ground at about 4:44 p.m

      • Anonymous

        That would have been 13/31. And since the aircraft impacted terrain just in the woods adjacent to Dublin Road, that would indicate that the aircraft was taking off from runway 13.

    • Instead of complaining in the comment section why don’t you simply e-mail the author of the story? I have done it many times and they will correct the story when they realize an error has been made.

      • Anonymous

        Simple answer:
        BDN needs to realize, through it’s readers comments, their glaring errors in reporting, need to be announced. And this is the medium for that.
        And that comment, of a 5000 square foot runway, is absurd. No who had even a rudimentary knowledge of airports would make such a remark.

        • Again, make them aware of it via e-mail. If you truly think complaining in the comment section is going to correct the news story you are wrong.

          • Anonymous

            It was not a complaint. It was a factual statement, I am not wrong.
            End of converstation.

          • I could care less if you reply but it is not the end for me.
            You made a factual statement, that is not the problem.

            The problem is how you are going about addressing the solution. Complaining in the comment section will not get a news story corrected. Sending an e-mail to the author will but for some unknown reason you are missing that important part.

          • Anonymous

            It will let less-informed readers know there’s a problem.

        • Bright

          While this maybe true, anyone with just a little thought won’t be confused by this and understood the intent and mistake and moved on with life.

      • Anonymous

        Reporters or editors who don’t read feedback from readers are reporters or editors who don’t want to improve their craft. Sure, most comments are not germane to the ins and outs of the story. But the fact remains, there are readers who know a thing or two more.
        In my experience, corrections are almost impossible to come by, no matter which avenue you take.
        Also, consider that some readers may not even realize a story contains errors until another reader points out the errors.

  • Anonymous

    I have been interested in aircraft investigation for many years and have read numerous NTSB investigation reports on aircraft accidents in that time. 6-12 months is the normal window for an investigation to take. The analysis of the accidents often runs to many pages and any pertinent exhibits that may be needed. One can go to the link and check them out. http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/reports_aviation.html

    From reading some of these reports one can become considerably impressed with the thoughtful work that goes into such an investigation. I can guarantee that the wreckage of the aircraft will be examined as thoroughly as possible, along with a thorough look at the truck, questioning of all witnesses who were in the area, a look at the qualifications of the pilot, weather conditions, available light and on and on. No stone will be left unturned before a conclusion is published. The conclusions contain an ample line of reasonng for the conclusion and are written in such a way that any reasonable reader could understand the conclusion.

    It will be determined what the condition of the aircraft and all its systems were in, what lights were on, what lights may have been off and so on. Forensic investigators can derive a tremendous amount of helpful information from a pile of wreckage that most of us would feel would yield little.

    Obviously the pilot and the driver of the truck did not have adequate communication between them. Why this happened will be a big part of the investigation, along with the ability of the pilot to be flying in the exact conditions that existed that night.
    Those who believe that the insurance industry and lawyers are behind this are mostly correct. It also benefits the aviation community to know what went wrong here, that might prevent such a thing in the future. Disaster is an unfortunate element of flying, just like driving a car. More things that contribute to future safety, come from the investigations of these kinds of accidents, than any other way!

    We will know, eventually, what happened as best as can be determined by careful analysis.

    • A very well written and informative post. Thanks for sharing.

    • Anonymous

      What you say is true of all airplane crash investigations, but in many crashes most of the areas they look at and report on turn out to have nothing to do with the cause of the accident. For example, in this scenario it wouldn’t have mattered whether the pilot had no license or he had and ATP and 10,000 hours. You’re right that the pilots qualifications will be duly documented, but when a truck pulls onto the runway just when your downward/forward vision is obscured as you raise the nose to rotate, your license or lack thereof becomes meaningless. The cause of this accident was that a truck that didn’t belong on the runway while an airplane was taking off WAS on the runway. The reason WHY that truck was in that position at that time is where the primary focus of the investigation will be.

    • Matthew Desmond

      The NTSB is one of the few government agencies that actually does what they are intended to do.

  • Anonymous

    Hey National Transportation Safety Board-the “probable” cause is the plane hit a truck during takeoff! There, case solved. No need to spend millions of dollars investigating this unfortunate accident.

    • Tyke

      You have just publicly announced that you do not understand the meaning of the term cause.

  • PabMainer

    Wow, 6 months for the Feds to figure out what it only took the BDN comment section probe 30 minutes to conclude…..

    • Anonymous

      Right on! We need to shift from an archaic jury system to a newspaper comment consensus system for trials! Our laws are written for a prehistoric time! It’s time we started “if it walks like a duck” type justice and saved Me the People’s money! Rah rah Less Government!

    • Anonymous

      We’re wicked smart

  • The VillageSoup which is a local pper has a interview with a 11 yr old girl who witnessed the plane in the tree above the trees then crash. She said the plane had no lights on. Is it possible the truck driver didnt see the plane taking off because of this?

    • PaulNotBunyan

      Any pilot who would fail to turn on the marker lights might be just as likely to have his radio on the wrong channel. No lights would explain a lot because an airport employee told a reporter he could see the silhouette of the plane in the low sky when it took off. That would mean it came from the opposite direction of the setting sun. It would be very hard to see a plane without lights coming from the dark end of the runway. I know what it’s like because I’ve worked out there after dark in my younger days. I’ve been out there driving vehicles and on foot. Things like runway lights can make it even harder to see what’s further down the runway. It’s those flashing beacons on the aircraft that I could see first.

    • Eyewitness are often horrible witnesses.

      • Anonymous

        Right on, Kevin…..an 11 year old didn’t see lights, and this is now the authoritative account? I don’t think so. Things happen so fast, that it would be literally impossible to recall this accurately. The plane was only airborne a very short distance. I’m amazed that so many people are trying to blame the pilot. What’s with that? Every fellow pilot I know leaves the light switches in the cockpit on, so when the Master Switch is thrown the lights come on automatically.
        I wouldn’t give much credence to an 11 year old “witness” who only could see that plane (if she even did) for a few seconds.

    • Bright

      The plane had already struck the truck at that point thus may have caused the electrical failure? Just saying, even if the eye witness is correct it means little without more forensic analysis done be the investigators, not the BDN forum.

  • Anonymous

    You can SPIN this any way you want. The cause of this shameful “accident” was a TRUCK driving across the airport runway. The aircraft belonged on the runway, the truck did not. Pretty clear to most anyone reading the paper. If the truck had not been on the runway(without a lighted beacon) the airplane would have flown away. The fact that people are allowed to drive across the runway is what killed those 3 young men. You can tell the story any way you want but those are the facts.

    • Guest

      s talking on her cell phone and rear ended us big time. Had substantial injuries and huge medical bills so filed against the woman’s insurance company. Was told by her insurance lawyers if I pursued this, and took it to court they would make certain the jurors knew I caused the accident because I was looking for money. I asked how it could have been my fault as a passenger and they replied that it wasn’t. But once they planted that idea in the jury’s heads….So it is with the spin doctors on here who do not believe the truck was at fault. They are putting their version out there for some to cast doubts that a truck on an airport runway could be at fault in any way for a horrific air accident after the plane hit the truck. That “walks like a duck” is actually not a bad theory!

      • Bright

        And you “fell for this”? Sure these ambulance chasing lawyers will say anything, but if you don’t follow through… Not to mention the local police investigating a motor vehicle accident and the NTSB are so far from the same it isn’t even funny.

        • Anonymous

          Apples, oranges. Was just making an analogy that came to mind.trying to rationalize why anyone could even think the pilot was at fault when runways are his domain. Perhaps i’m wrong but haven’t noticed any trucks flying lately.

    • Anonymous

      We do not have the facts. Obviously the plane impacting the truck was the result of errors, but we do not know what events transpired for this to occur. The truck had permission for surface operations at RKD, and crossing a runway can be done without incident. We may learn that it was a horrible mistake made by the truck driver, or it may have been a chain of errors that tend to be part of aviation accidents.

      For instance, was the aircraft communicating on CTAF? If so, did the pilot communicate the correct information (like the correct runway)? Did the aircraft have functioning nav, strobe and landing lights and were they in used during the departure? The answers to all of these things may be yes, but we don’t know that yet. This could be the result of the aircraft, the truck, or both could have made mistakes.

      The NTSB will do its job to find out as much information as possible. The goal isn’t just to place blame, but it is to learn from the mistakes and improve safety for those of us still flying.

  • This all comes down to poor airport management. Anyone want to do some investigative reporting, go to the airport and count how many gates are open that will allow you direct access to the runways. I counted 2 today.

    • The airport manager should be fired immediately he’s a poor excuse of a manager.

  • Downeasta

    If I recall correctly. The pickups at alot of the regional airports dont have beacons around here. Its not just Owls Head. What they do have is a large orange and white checkered flag mounted in the bed. The flag is about 3 feet square.

  • Anonymous

    I’m staying away from that airport…too dangerous. I’m sure the number of accidents at the airport is directly proportional to the “safety education” of the people that work there.

  • Guest

    If he had a radio tuned to the tower frequency he’d have heard that they were given a takeoff “Go ahead” and the fool would have held or backed up. Maybe it’s an unattended airport. I’m not sure of this eaither. If the rules call for a beacon he should be to blame as they were not followed. Either way 3 people are dead which is terrible!

  • Anonymous

    “Technically a rotating beacon wasn’t required but the truck should have had one”? If the truck “should have had one” it should have been an enforced airport requirement. Given the lay-out of the airport, why weren’t there any designated vehicle roadways between the various service locations? As airport with commercial passenger services “routine” vehicle runway crossings are entirely unacceptable.

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