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Truckee Area Sees Dramatic Increase in Plane Accidents

Wild Aspen Rose via Flickr
 

Wild Aspen Rose via Flickr

Three plane crashes last month in the Truckee area are highlighting some of the challenges faced nation-wide in General Aviation. 

May 16th a pilot died after witnesses reported seeing a fireball in the sky. Two days later two people died when their small plane hit trees during an attempted landing. Five days after that, a pilot blacked-out on take-off and woke up in the wreckage, but survived. Kevin Bumen of the Truckee Tahoe airport says the crashes all have one thing in common: Small General Aviation aircraft don’t have the same safeguards as commercial planes.

 “And the trade off for that and I hate to say it, but it is a higher accident rate. You are giving people more latitude in their operational decision-making,” said Bumen.

Bumen says decision-making is critical in high-wind and high-altitude areas like Truckee and flight plans are often neglected. An FAA report last month says there were 263 General Aviation accidents last year nation-wide. The top causes were stalling and terrain impact. The agency’s goal is to reduce accidents 10% by 2018.