Deputies Involved in Plane Crash Near Stockton Airport
A 1999 Cessna plane made an emergency landing near the Stockton Airport on October 17. The plane was operated by two deputies, who were in training, and lifted off at approximately 6:30 p.m. The aircraft developed engine trouble shortly afterward, and the deputies were forced into making an emergency landing about 1.2 miles from the airport on Performance Drive. In the process, the plane crashed into a chain-link fence and a big rig trailer. According to a spokesperson for the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, the deputies were uninjured in the plane crash. No one on the ground was injured, and police immediately arrived at the site of the accident. The plane, which is owned by the sheriff’s department, appeared to be damaged. The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are charged with investigating the plane accident.
There are approximately five small plane crashes daily, which translates into about 500 fatalities annually. Overall, 97 percent of all fatal accidents occur in non-commercial flights, according to news outlets. The National Safety Transportation Board has said that most accidents could be eliminated with pilot training and safety improvements. The causes of plane accidents are:
- Pilot error: The most common reason for a small plane crash is pilot error. Many pilots, particularly new ones, are not experienced and lack the necessary flight time. Because of this, they are not able to handle emergencies like an experienced pilot would. The result often ends in tragedy.
- Running out of gas: Believe it or not, some inexperienced pilots fail to check their gas level before departing. In some planes, there are dual gas tanks, but they may need to be switched over manually. In other instances, they plan their flight without allowing for how the wind may affect their gas mileage. Sometimes, a trainee may be so focused on practicing landings and takeoffs that they fail to check the gas tank. This is what happened to singer John Denver.
- Inclement weather: Small planes are much more affected by bad weather than their larger counterparts. This means the pilot must be trained in what to do when the flight becomes bumpy. Overall, 12 percent of all plane crashes are due to inclement weather. Bad weather also limits a pilot’s visibility. Not having sufficient training can lead to plane accidents.
- Hitting birds and deer: Small planes often fly out of smaller airports, and deer on a runway can cause them to make an avoidance maneuver that leads to an accident. Further, birds can be caught in the propeller in single-engine planes and cause a crash.
- Hitting solid objects: Surrounding the runway are often trees and outlying buildings used for storage. If the plane hits them, it is usually catastrophic. Depending on the speed of the plane on impact, this can be a fatal accident.
- Crashing into a home near the airport: Planes often fly low on approach to an airport and during takeoff. If the plane develops engine trouble, there is no place to land. This usually happens in an urban area where houses surround the airport. The impact is likely to kill both the occupants of the aircraft and the home’s residents.
Experience Is Important
In planes, as with most things in life, experience is essential. While everyone has to learn, the big mistake pilots in training make is overestimating their abilities. There are variables a pilot can’t avoid, but training is not one of them. In addition, it is important to do a complete check of the plane before takeoff, including making sure there is enough gas for the trip and then some. Checking weather forecasts before taking off helps too and can prevent flying into a bad situation.
What an Attorney Can Do
Our firm is experienced in small plane crashes, and we work alongside local and federal authorities to determine what happened. While some issues are obvious, many are not. This includes a mechanical defect. Although the General Aviation Revitalization Act protects and grants immunity to airplane manufacturers for accidents due to defects in planes that are not older than 18 years, this does not mean that compensation is not available. A host of different parties may be liable for the damages, ranging from flight schools, airports and mechanics to suppliers of plane components installed after the plane was built.
Stockton Personal Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton personal injury lawyer. When you have been injured in a plane accident, you have the right to be compensated. Call me at (209) 227-1931 or at (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice. You can also reach out to me online if that is easier for you.
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Photo Attribution: https://pixabay.com/photos/cessna-caravan-aircraft-aircraft-2481537/
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