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.