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'I'm happy. Lucky -- alive,' instructor says after plane crash

Original post made on Aug 23, 2011

A small airplane made an emergency landing in the Ravenswood Open Space Preserve near East Palo Alto this morning.

This story contains 271 words.

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Comments (21)

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Posted by Shane
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm

I'm very glad that both pilot and instructor were unharmed, and that the pilot did the right thing in this situation.

Like this comment
Posted by where?
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 23, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Anyone know exactly where was the crash? The article says the Ravenswood Preserve, which is half a mile north of the airport. But the article also says 2 miles west of the airport, which would be near downtown Palo Alto.

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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 23, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Picture worth 1000 words. Google Maps, priceless. Building in background of Photo 1 is 6000 feet off NW end of runway, bay trail is similarly aligned. Looks like photos were taken from the trail. Google Maps shows Ravenswood Open Space Preserve icon right there. MROSD maps show the adjacent open marsh SSE all the way to the golf course as City of Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve.

With flaps down, the landing speed should have been 50-55 mph. Plane looks repairable, but that left wing hurts. That's a set-back for the student.

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Posted by CJ
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 23, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Good job, pilots!

The good news is that this type of thing is so rare that it makes the newspapers whenever it happens (unlike even fatal auto accidents).

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Posted by Weekly Reader
a resident of Meadow Park
on Aug 23, 2011 at 4:35 pm

We all love a happy ending and, except for the banged-up airplane, this seems pretty good.

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Posted by Weekly Reader
a resident of Meadow Park
on Aug 23, 2011 at 4:37 pm

@where: The article says "about 2 miles northwest of Palo Alto Airport"
Maybe they changed it after your comment.

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Posted by Shut-It-Down
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2011 at 5:47 pm

> Just glad to be alive ..

What a mensch .. only worried about himself. Not ever concerned that he could have killed his passenger, or someone on the ground.

Having people like this guy in the sky over our homes is why this airport needs to be moved!

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Posted by Good grief
a resident of Meadow Park
on Aug 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Good grief, shut-it...I hope you are just being sarcastic about the thought processes of tyrants!

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 23, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Awesome landing job by the pilots. Noone harmed on the ground or in the airplane.

Also awesome job by the Palo Alto ATC and emergency services. The rescue chopper and the police were there within 5 minutes. I hope it's that way all the time.

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Posted by Anna
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 24, 2011 at 9:09 am

Isn't it about time that the airport is closed? Numerous previous threads have documented its status as a playground -subsidized by our taxes -for mostly rich residents of other cities like Atherton and Woodside. While a few city residents (and a minority of airport users)get some hobbyist enjoyment out of the airport, for the rest of us its mostly a source of noisy overflight and air pollution. Blikut this latest incident is only the most recent in a string of accidents that eventually will kill or maim someone on the ground.

The pilots are well organized and quick to react to any threat to their playground (as evidenced by some of the posts on this thread. But someone in government needs to develop the courage to start the process of closing the airport and dedicating the property to a use that will benefit a broader swath of PA residents.

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Posted by how much?
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 24, 2011 at 9:25 am

Anna - how much of a tax payer subsidy does the airport receive? I don't mind so much the airport being there (since it was there before I bought my house), but I don't want to see millions of tax dollars spent on it. The pilots should be able to pay for all airport maintenance and services.

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Posted by CC
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 24, 2011 at 9:57 am

To those who keep wanting to close the airport..
This is not at all like the pilot who crashed and killed himself and others. That pilot took off in fog and never gave himself a safe way to turn around and land should his plane quit working.
This time the pilot and instructor had a clear day and the option to turn and land in a location away from homes safely. They did things the right way as all pilots are taught to do.
The one who crashed and burned may have been thinking "nothing will go wrong" was his real mistake.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 24, 2011 at 11:54 am

I take it that Anna has never used a city park in any city other than Palo Alto. I take it that she only uses Palo Alto for all her recreational activities.

Palo Alto is in Santa Clara County and at present the airport is run by Santa Clara County. I take it that you are agreed that any Santa Clara County resident is welcome to use any Santa Clara County facility since they are paying Santa Clara County taxes.

This argument gets sillier all the time.

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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 24, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Wealthy people own jets, and keep them at San Jose or Moffett. The plane that went down costed less than half the vehicles I see on El Camino.

The main economic argument for redevelopment is the lost opportunity cost. Airport plus golf course is 282 acres upon which 3260 homes could be built (scaling from the density of the recent Hyatt project). That's billions of dollars.

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Posted by Mike
a resident of another community
on Aug 24, 2011 at 12:14 pm

I don't play tennis or basketball, so let's get rid of all those facilities too. Such a silly notion doesn't even compare to the rantings of a vocal minority who bemoan anything having to with general aviation. The value an airport provides in terms of providing emergency services, transportation infrastructure, economic stimulus, and dare I say it, recreational opportunities, far outweighs the narcissistic bleating of the few malcontents who are always assailing airports.

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Posted by Mike
a resident of another community
on Aug 24, 2011 at 12:20 pm

musical, I'm not clear on the point you're trying to make about opportunity cost. A lot of open space would disappear, and environmentally the impact would be orders of magnitude greater than what airport activity produces. In that sense there's a great opportunity cost as well.

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 24, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Can't really compare using a park with using the airport. Not likely that someone playing in the park will crash into my house or wake me in the middle of the night doing a night landing or disturb my telephone call buzzing low before landing. I'd love to see it close for good -- it's used by a limited few (much fewer than any reasonably-sized park) and at a much greater cost to tax payers than a park. Very few users are Palo Alto residents. Finally, you can't truly call it a county facility because the land is owned by the city (unlike County park land that is owned by the County).

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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 24, 2011 at 1:53 pm

My point was it takes care to argue with billions of dollars. Jobs created, taxes collected, children smiling. Like high-speed rail, the downside is apparent at the outset, but bandwagons can be difficult to stop. Campaigns model the costs and impacts to suit their objectives. How's that Cargill proposal faring up north?

Anyway this article was about a minor aviation accident (would have been classified as an "incident" if they hadn't sustained major damage clipping the tree). I'm mainly curious as to the cause of power loss. Land use and management arguments should be pointed to a different forum. We can do some research on Airport Day, coming Saturday September 10 if my calendar is correct.

Like this comment
Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 24, 2011 at 3:16 pm

The pilots who use the airport are narcissists. The airport has zero economic vitality, actually less than zero, since the land is donated free of charge by the Palo Alto tax payers, yet it is still losing money. It's a constant source of danger, unacceptable noise and pollution. Any comparison to normal services a city provides to its residents, such as libraries and parks is laughable. To make matters worse, the large majority of plane owners and users are residents of neighboring towns who would never accept a general aviation airports near their own houses. The land has great value and could be used in a myriad of ways to benefit the residents of Palo Alto instead of acting as a bonanza for a few narcissists.

Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 24, 2011 at 7:29 pm

When it's pilot error, do they get billed for emergency response personnel time, like people do when they own a tree that falls or something else idiotic like this? I know homeowners insurance and car insurance pay for a lot of human mistakes and idiocy - what about student pilots?

Like this comment
Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 24, 2011 at 9:09 pm

The residents of East Palo Alto--the people most at risk from incidents like this--don't get a dime in benefit from the Palo Alto airport's operations. Because of the wind direction most commonly prevailing, planes taking off from that airport typically fly right towards East Palo Alto, and then at the last moment turn. I've read that it's nerve-wracking for residents near the flight path.

After the Tesla tragedy last year, the owner of the preschool whose playground and outbuildings were evidently wrecked by the crash still hadn't been able to reopen months and months later. I don't know if she is still awaiting insurance funds . . .

Lives and ways of earning a living are imperiled by the hobbies of affluent residents of neighboring cities. It strikes me as selfish and wrong for the Palo Airport to be kept open.

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