News

What's happened since the accident

Questions, lawsuits remain after Cessna 310 crash last Feb. 17

A year after the Feb. 17, 2010, plane crash in East Palo Alto that took three lives, much has been repaired, but much still remains unresolved, including the cause of the crash. Here is an update on the people and places impacted by the accident:

■ The twin-engine Cessna 310R disabled both of the City of Palo Alto's electrical power conduits, blacking out all of Palo Alto and hampering communications for hours. City leaders have since invested $300,000 in a mobile-command unit, which has its own dispatch capabilities for emergencies. To avoid possible future blackouts, the city is negotiating with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and is exploring an existing western feed line through Stanford Linear Accelerator.

■ Paul and Barbara Ingram, crash victim Andrew Ingram's parents, filed suit in San Mateo County Superior Court against pilot Douglas Bourn's estate and his company, Air Unique, Inc., on Aug. 17, 2010, for unspecified damages. Their attorney, Ara Jabachourian, said the case is moving forward.

■ Victim Brian Finn's wife, Sherina Yuk Chan, and his young child, Erin Silei Finn, filed suit in San Mateo County Superior Court against Bourn's estate and his company on Jan. 10, 2011. Mother and child now reside in Hong Kong, according to court documents.

■ The Palo Alto Airport Association, in conjunction with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, held a seminar at Cubberley Auditorium on Sept. 20, 2010, to discuss safety operating procedures and the risks associated with low-visibility departures. The association regularly tells members to reduce power and maintain an altitude of 1,500 feet if possible above all areas in the vicinity of the airport, according to Ralph Britton, the airport association's president.

■ The airport association established a fund to assist people affected by the crash. It purchased and delivered a truck to replace the uninsured one belonging to the Ramirez family on Beech Street that was destroyed, and the group covered insurance for the initial period, Britton said. Dave Hengehold of Hengehold Truck Rental in Palo Alto aided the association in finding an appropriate vehicle.

■ Pinkie and Ervin Hudleton, whose carport was destroyed, received insurance compensation and rebuilt the structure. A car that was damaged has been repaired, she said.

■ Rafael Cortes, whose home was damaged by the fire and explosion, said insurance has covered much of the cost for repairing the home, but there have been out-of-pocket costs. His brother's vehicle, which was destroyed in their driveway, still has not been compensated for, he said.

■ Lisa Jones, whose home and day care center was structurally damaged, remains homeless and jobless. She and residents of her home filed claims against Douglas Bourn's estate on Sept. 2, 2010.

■ The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is still investigating the cause of the plane crash. No final report has been issued.

Sue Dremann

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Beverly Finn
a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Not one word about Brian's family of 42+ years who nurtured and loved him. The family just does not count in California law, unfortunately. What a travesty! We seem to have just dissolved into thin air or never existed at all according to newspaper articles, and we are the ones who are hurting the most, in addition to his daughter. She is the one who will suffer the greatest loss, growing up without her father who loved her dearly. One day, we hope, there will be justice and some resolution of the cause of the devastating accident, followed by healing.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 12, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Ms. Finn, I agree. This tragedy has bottomless repercussions that are immeasurable. I am deeply sorry for your loss and the loss of everyone who loved him. Given the amount of small plane traffic in the area, I think often of the great losses - the lives & well-being of all those who suffer.

I hope that they shut down the airport.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 13, 2011 at 1:46 pm

> The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is still investigating the
> cause of the plane crash. No final report has been issued.

Is this foot-dragging so people lose their anger and outrage over this, and let it just blow over before they talk about possible pilot error or just plain bad judgement?


Like this comment
Posted by David
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2011 at 10:53 pm

The NTSB take about a year to a year and a half to compile and release the findings on a significant incidnet like this, not foot dragging. Take a chill pill and wait for the report.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 14, 2011 at 12:39 pm

David, the crash of a jetliner is what I would refer to as significant, with all kinds of new technology and hundreds if not thousands of more parts and factors, this is about as insignificant in terms of "complexity" as could be. If they have not found a mechanical failure, they are dragging their feet.


Like this comment
Posted by Jenny Finn
a resident of another community
on Feb 14, 2011 at 2:27 pm

David- I think if you were a family member of someone lost on the plane that day, you would think twice of your statement. Our family wants answers to bring some closure to this tragic event.

This article did not address the Finn family loss at all. Our family lost a great deal that day. For me a brother-n-law and then his daughter (my neice) who we will never see again because his estranged wife won't let us play a part in her life. It's like two death's, not one. We just hope someday Erin will realize how much we wanted to be part of her life and how much we were forced out of her life by her mother. Where ever you are Erin, we love and miss you!


Like this comment
Posted by Close-It-Down
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2011 at 12:08 pm

> I hope that they shut down the airport.

Ditto ...

As to the time it takes the NTSB to process these accidents, it's clearly too long. But without knowing how any people they have to assign to every accident, they may be doing the best they can. Unfortunately, we'll just have to wait for them to finish their work.


Like this comment
Posted by daniel
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 15, 2011 at 2:12 pm

The tragedy the families suffered is horrible and tragic. They deserve and have sympathy from everyone. However, the cause of the crash was the incredible recklessness of the pilot. It seems to me like the NTSB is engaged in serious foot-dragging in order to blunt the demand for this airport's closure. This totally unnecessary hobbyist playground is a permanent source of danger, noise and toxic air pollution to the adjacent neighborhood and should be shut down immediately.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 15, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Thank you, Daniel, for your words - I agree.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 15, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Daniel sates:"hobbyist playground is a permanent source of danger, noise and toxic air pollution to the adjacent neighborhood and should be shut down immediately."

Along with golf courses, swimming pools, tennis courts and libraries?


Like this comment
Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Peter, swimming pools, tennis courts and libraries are community resources that enrich our lives and don't endanger everybody. This airport is a bonanza for mostly out of town hobbyists from which the owners of the land, the Palo Alto tax payer, receives no benefits beside danger, noise, pollution and deadly lead poisoning. Bad analogy.


Like this comment
Posted by Close-It-Down
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2011 at 4:39 pm

> Along with golf courses, swimming pools, tennis courts
> and libraries?

Planes come crashing down on people's homes, and end their lives. No rational person can draw a parallel to the thousands of crashes and death inflicted on other people by General Aviation pilots.

Trying to make a parallel between a publicly-subsidized airport in the middle of a dense urban area (like ours), and the other publicly-subsidized services--such as golf courses, swimming pools and tennis courts--demonstrates a lack of rational thought.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 15, 2011 at 4:50 pm

"thousands of crashes and death inflicted on other people by General Aviation pilots." Thousands????
Facts please and give your source for those facts
See Web Link

Swimming pools = chlorine = deadly gas

Golf courses = chemicals = pollution

tennis courts = noise and lights = disruptive

The point is that any one person's hobby has impacts on other people.

Rational thought requires looking at facts and balancing the risks and the benefits.


Like this comment
Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 15, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Peter, the analogy of swimming pools, libraries, etc, is so ridiculous, that if you want to be taken seriously here, you really need to come up with something better, much much better. And remind me again, why should the Palo Alto tax payers continue to subsidize the hobbies of non-residents when that hobby represents permanent mortal danger to adjacent neighborhoods? If the pilots want an airport, let them pool their money, buy some land far from residential areas and shoulder the entire financial burden of that operation. Stop milking us.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 15, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Daniel - please tell us how many people on the ground have been injured or killed by an airplane departing or arriving at the Palo Alto Airport.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 15, 2011 at 5:38 pm

I'm totally game for getting rid of the pesky golf courses. What a waste of natural resources. However, if you're gonna have a medical emergency having one on a golf course isn't a bad place to have it - plenty of doctors around & then when you wanna sue someone, there are plenty of attorneys, too. But then again, w/out golf courses, we wouldn't have had "Caddyshack" which balances it out a bit.


Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 15, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Here's a crazy idea. Close the golf course and the use the land to build a research park. Palo Alto can collect rent for an area that has excellent freeway access, views of the Bay while generating jobs and revenue for the City.


Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 15, 2011 at 7:12 pm

And in 20 years, do the same with the airport!


Like this comment
Posted by Close-It-Down
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 8:45 am

>> "thousands of crashes and death inflicted on other people
>> by General Aviation pilots." Thousands????

> Facts please and give your source for those facts

The FAA collects General Aviation crash data. The following link calls out the crashes and fatalities since 1990:

Web Link

The table totals to 36,766 crashes with 7110 fatalities. Certainly the number of crashes from small planes would be well over 100,000, if the FAA data were available back to the days of the Wright Bros.

> Rational thought requires looking at facts

Well .. the facts have been presented. Your suggestion (direct or indirect) that there have not been "thousands" of crashes and fatalities by hapless General Aviation pilots does not hold much water.

As to your claim that the disruption of tennis courts, or the pollution of a few swimming pools (there are maybe one publicly accessible and four outdoor pools owned by the school district here in Palo Alto) is somehow comparable to the disruption in the lives of the people who live under General Aviation airports (and their flight paths) is beyond silly.


Like this comment
Posted by Jim_PA
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 16, 2011 at 8:49 am


Yes, and while we're at it, let's close down Highway 101 also. "This totally unnecessary hobbyist playground is a permanent source of danger, noise and toxic air pollution to the adjacent neighborhood and should be shut down immediately." I know it's a "hobbyist playground" because I saw a guy tooling down 101 in a classic car last Sunday. That kind of frivolous freedom and enjoyment should not be permitted if it involves any risk whatsoever to anyone at all. Everyone can ride the bus or take Caltrain instead.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:28 am

Rational thought requires looking at all of the data - not just cherry picking data that supports your wildly erroneous claims.

The claims was made that "thousands of crashes and death inflicted on other people by General Aviation pilots."

The table which I provided a link to shows 36,766 crashes with 7110 fatalities over a ten year period with less than a hundred of those fatalities being to people on the ground. And NONE of those fatalities of people on the ground were cause by an airplane arriving at or departing from the Palo Alto Airport.

There were far more deaths to non-passengers caused by buses - should we ban buses?


Like this comment
Posted by Roger Overnaut
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:39 am

Think of this, anti-airport types. Palo Alto has an airport. That's more than Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside, Los Altos, Cupertino, or even Los Altos Hills can say. Clearly they are envious. They use our airport. Now why isn't an occasional pile of flaming wreckage falling into in your bedroom worth the prestige that having an airport brings to our city?


Like this comment
Posted by Close-It-Down
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:43 am

> Rational thought requires looking at all of the data - not just
> cherry picking data that supports your wildly erroneous claims\

What cherry picking? The FAA data provided shows that over 12,000 people were killed, and a more than 100 on the ground--people by the way whose lives meant a lot more to their families than they seem to mean to you!

If the FAA data were to be complete, the total number of people killed by General Aviation would be around 75,00. But it's probably impossible to know how many people have been killed by General Aviation in the US. If we were to look worldwide, the numbers would grow to much bigger numbers.

As to Palo Alto, there have been about 150 accidents since 1965, with perhaps 10 people killed. The fact that "no one on the ground" was killed at the Palo Alto airport is simply a fluke. The 02.17.10 accident saw a plane crash into a daycare center that was not yet open for the day. Are you prepared to say that if the center had been open, that no children would be killed? When planes crash in urban areas, people tend to die. To flippantly dismiss there deaths is typical of the people who argue that there is no danger from the Palo Alto Airport.

It's not hard to Google around and find small plane crashes at schools. The bottom line is that people die at the hands of pilots that generally are not insured sufficiently to cover the financial, and emotional losses that they force on people who happen to be in the way of their crashing aircraft.

The only solution is to move these small airports out of the dense, urban, areas to more rural settings, where there would be less danger to people on the ground.



Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:47 am

Interesting how childish and incoherent the pro-airport arguments are.

From denying that there are fatalities because of airports at all, to sarcastically claiming that highway 101 is a hobbyists playground.

We would not even be having this discussion if that plane had killed people, or caused an even more extreme power outage, or for example landed on Facebook or the Sun/Oracle campus - it would be gone. (as it should be)


Like this comment
Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 16, 2011 at 11:10 am

Peter, I've noticed that you live in Atherton. Undoubtedly you would support the building of a general aviation airport in your town.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 16, 2011 at 11:25 am

Yes, the pro-airport folks always attack other modes of transpo as if they were analogous. One accident was enough - an accident which killed 3 people, caused a large power outage, caused severe property damage, ruined a business & caused PTSD for a number of people.


Like this comment
Posted by Beverly Finn
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2011 at 3:40 pm

I wish to respond to some of the comments stating that the persons on the plane were "hobbyists", just out for a joy ride. My son often worked 20 hour days, for weeks on end and often had to fly in conjunction with his work. Most times, he flew commercial out of San Jose; this time, unfortunately, that was not what happened. He just happened to live in the area of the crash because that is where he could afford to live instead of other communities of the Palo Alto area. Brian was a supportive community member and loved the people of East Palo Alto. He was not one of the "rich" people, just a young, dedicated man trying to support his daughter, legal advisors, and spousal payments. I highly doubt that the pilot was just on a "fly over". He must have had mechanical difficulties, or perhaps disorientation because of the fog. My son had no control over his demise or where he spent the last moments of his life. We family and friends miss him dreadfully, and on top of that, we have lost our granddaughter also. Losing one person at a time in a family is bad enough, losing two is heartbreaking. We will never recover from this great loss. Sad.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 16, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Beverly Finn, I as I am sure like everyone else that heard about this tragic accident am very sad for your son's and grandaughter's deaths and you and your family's loss.

I just did a search in this article for the word joyride and did not find it anywhere, and I do not think anyone would use that term or that language to describe this event.

What I have considered and said is that it may have been bad judgement of the pilot for whatever reason leading to bad judgement.

It would be a a very complicated situation to understand even if all the facts were known, but we do know that the airport rules allowed and still allows as far as I understand planes to take off with few or no real restrictions on their activities in weather such as was the case a year ago.

Perhaps is a coincidence that the crash was so close to that residence in EPA, or perhaps there was a reason for it. I don't think anyone would blame any one person or decision, at least anyone know would think about trying to put any catastrophic mistake in some kind of perspective.

Airplane crashes have been written in lay terms for the average reader quite a bit, and one thing that is clear, any crash is usually a series of "mistakes" or missteps that add up and accumulate towards the end result of a crash.

My concern in reading and writing about this incident has been to point out that I think from what I have read the Palo Alto airport is incapable of regulating itself, much like even though there were many people who understood where the economy was going in the last decade no one in power or authority was able to act on that. The airport had been given some suggestions by Peter Carpenter last year ... is my understanding ... and refused to implement them, which as I understand them was to require that planes taking off take a course out over the bay as soon as they are off the ground. My interpretation.

I perceive this as a continuation of a pattern of regulatory cowardice or incompetence and in something like the Palo Alto airport can only be concerned that at some point sooner or later will again randomly happen lead someone else to be put in your positive if the airport is not either completely changed in management or closed down.

Again, just my opinion based on my understanding and reading of this situation.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 16, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Anon states:"The airport had been given some suggestions by Peter Carpenter last year ... is my understanding ... and refused to implement them, which as I understand them was to require that planes taking off take a course out over the bay as soon as they are off the ground. My interpretation."

Your interpretation is correct. To be precise, I recommend that all takeoffs and landings use the bay side of the airport, that no turns towards highway 101 be permitted below 1500 ft and that instrument departures in no wind conditions, which is what usually exists when there is heavy fog, only be allowed to take off in the southern direction over Bixby Park. I still believe that those restrictions are in the best interest of both the airport and of the surrounding community.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 16, 2011 at 7:55 pm

No one is faulting Brian Finn. The fault, imo, lies w/the pilot for his poor judgment in flying in that terribly foggy weather. The hobbyists to which posters are referring are those that fly for pleasure. As much fun as it is, many of us believe it's not safe for those in the vicinity of the airport. It's also a huge waste of precious fuel.

However much Brian Finn worked or didn't work isn't the point. People know that he was on his way to a work meeting & no one is criticizing that.

Many of us who are affected by this airport will continue to be critical of the airport, as we should be. The hobbyists will continue to defend it.


Like this comment
Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 17, 2011 at 7:14 am

This airport has refused to regulate itself for many years. It has refused to establish take-off patterns which would reduse the risk of an airplane crashing into a residential area. Like some pointed out, if the airplane crashed into a Facebook or Google facility, or into a Crescent Park mansion, its operation would already be suspended. I'd also like to point out a confessional post on this Townsquare Forum, following the crash a year ago. The poster, an airplane owner who parks his aircraft at the PA airport admitted that the pilots do not take the noise abatement procedures very seriously and that the airport administration doesn't enforce them. Just like they don't enforce many other procedures(my words).


Like this comment
Posted by Mr. Ironic
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 17, 2011 at 11:19 am

Brian was a good dude and a good neighbor. I admire him he could have lived in PA, MP or Atherton but he choose EPA. He wasnt a cocky guy but very down to earth and he loved his daughter. I agree his family has heavy hearts I gave my respect when they were clearing his house I cant imagine the feeling. I dont think he would want to do a fly over to see his house 1) it was foggy as hell do you really think they would have been able to see houses with all that fog 2) his daughter was at the house at the time i believe he wouldnt risk it. He was a good guy I miss the talks we had. He was very humble even though we were on diff economic/educational levels he would ask my advice for parenting issues. RIP


Like this comment
Posted by Becky Sanders
a resident of Ventura
on Feb 17, 2011 at 11:31 am

Wow I can't believe that the woman who owned the home daycare center is homeless and out of work after a year. I don't know why I thought there would be a "rally round" and that somebody's insurance would cover her loss and get her back up and running. What piece of the puzzle am I missing? Feeling a little naive here.


Like this comment
Posted by Ryan
a resident of another community
on Feb 17, 2011 at 11:53 am

While I sympathize with the families affected by this tragedy, I would caution anyone from attributing blame to the pilot. While it's true that airport may be too close to a densely populated community, there is no evidence yet that reveals causality. The pilot was a flying instructor and flew from the airport regularly. This particular trip was not a pleasure flight, but rather a flight for a private company, Tesla. There is no reason to suspect the pilot did anything wrong. In fact, other flying instructors commented that the pilot showed a level of control in his descent, avoiding causing even more damage and tragedy.

Yes, there was fog, but this is Palo Alto. There's fog all the time. It's normal.

Please stop the myth that this was pilot error or negligence, at least until the experts rule.

I think one of the biggest problems in this country today is that people who have no credential think their opinion should count equally with scientific experts on the subject. It's pure hubris and anyone who has done that on this thread should be ashamed.

The pilot was also a human being with a family and friends who grieve his loss. There is a family in Kentucky whom the pilot was helping financially who have had that cut off and are in dire straits now. They also have to wait for the NTSB findings to see if his wishes for their future can be realized.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 20, 2011 at 4:46 am

> I think one of the biggest problems in this country today is that people who have no credential think their opinion should count equally with scientific experts on the subject.

I'd have to disagree on that. It may be annoying, wrong, helpful or not, but it is not a problem. You don't have to read it. What is a problem is experts making bad or corrupt judgements.

I certainly do not think my opinion should count for more than an expert's opinion, unless I happen to also be an expert, but I do think I and others can occasionally make important comments or ask questions, and when I get an answer that does not make sense, I don't have to be an expert to see that.

There is not fog all the time in Palo Alto. I go out to the Baylands almost everyday at various times ... I'd have to say I'm just short of being an expert on the Baylands weather, and there is not fog out there anywhere near everyday. The oddest weather I have seen out there recently was a hailstorm I got caught up in out there about a year ago.

I have no heard anyone claim it was pilot negligence at all, so why are you claiming you have? Let alone what you seem to be implying like a blabbering mob blaming the pilot, it just ain't so. So maybe you should have some humility and shame your own self Ryan.

Another thing is that almost all accidents have something the pilot might have done better ... I'd say that rather than blame, and I don't think it should be off limits to discuss if done with some sensitivity. Talking about it keeps the subject alive, and I think that is what you're spiteful diatribe is against, in the pretense as sensitivity for the pilot.

People post for various reasons, and if someone is open and aboveboard about their motives and fair and respectful about their questions and comments, I don't think anyone has the right to mischaracterize and make people feel bad or ashamed.

Yes, I do want to see the airport shut down. I said it a year ago, and I'll reiterate it today. The reason is simple, there is nothing I see that proves to me this cannot happen again or that the Palo Alto airport is doing or considering doing anything different.

IF you watched the video, the people that live in line of that flight path get noise all day and can get noise at any time of night ... I hear a propeller plane flying over my Crescent Park house right now ... 4:45am. Those people have also to consider they can experience a crash again at any time as well. What gives the airport and pilots the right to just dismiss and blow off these people rights and their feelings ... and claim they are too ignorant or not expert enough to have an opinion?


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 20, 2011 at 6:00 am

The airport will, fortunately, continue in operation using, unfortunately, both of its existing traffic patterns (one over the bay and the other over residential areas) until another crash, unfortunately, occurs. If that crash is again in a residential area the political presures to close the airport will be immense. This could be avoided if the airport community insisted that all low level flights over residential areas simply be prohibited.

I flew out of that airport for almost twenty years and 99% of my takeoffs and landings were over the bay and Bixby Park.

The Palo Alto Airport community is throwing the dice in continuing to operate in the 'business as usual' mode.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 24, 2011 at 6:04 pm

>> The Palo Alto Airport community is throwing the dice in continuing to operate in the 'business as usual' mode.

We agree on that.

The powers that be gambling with other people's lives and money, what's new.


Like this comment
Posted by Twin Cessna Pilot
a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2011 at 4:52 pm

To Mr. Hmm, Mr. Anon, and all the other airport, airplane, and aviation haters:

You are NOT more important than those who require the airport for their travel needs. You moved into your homes likely long after the airport was there. If you fell victim to overzealous development right up to the runway threshold, you can't blame anyone but yourselves. The airport is a vital part of our national transportation infrastructure. The fact that those of us who know the value of airports have to constantly defend it to you indicates your extreme level of ignorance regarding aviation (and of course, all the posts that demonstrate the lack of technical knowledge of aviation of many posters).

That said, airport users are also not more important than you. There can be a happy medium between those who require the airport and the surrounding communities. If you continue to insist on an all or nothing attitude that the airport should close just because you live nearby, you are simply wasting your energies that could be more productively used to continue a meaningful dialogue as the Palo Alto Airport Association and the Aircraft Owners' and Pilot's Association have been doing.

How many crashes have occurred? Far few than fatal car accidents. You should be far more concerned about getting hit by a car or an out of control driver hitting your house than an airplane.

Incidentally, the prior post that claims the owner is responsible for aircraft maintenance is misleading. Owners are responsible for making sure that their aircraft are maintained in accordance with FAA requirements. The actual maintenance, however, is required to be performed by an FAA-licensed airframe and powerplane (A&P) technician. Owners, with the exception of a few minor preventive maintenance tasks, are not permitted to repair their own aircraft, unlike car hobbyists. All light aircraft must undergo an annual inspection and approved by an FAA licensed A&P holding the rigorous Inspection Authorization (IA) certificate as well. Those that are for hire (e.g., flight schools and charter) must undergo this inspection every 100 hours of operation.

Finally, your glib characterization of aircraft owners/pilots as "hobbyists" is totally wrong. While one may not be flying for compensation or hire, all pilots are instilled during their training and regular recurrent training that safety is the beginning, middle, and end of everything in flying. Before you pontificate about how "dangerous" the airport and flying there is why don't you ask some pilots what is really involved in day-to-day operation of an aircraft, maintaining it, becoming a pilot, and demonstrating recurrently that one still is able to safely fly. Your comments would come across as having some basis in fact and would not be immediately preposterous to those who know a little about aviation.

One flying for pleasure or business has every bit as much right to be doing so as you have to drive your car on the street for the same reasons. Their travels are not any less important than yours.

Regards,

Michael, Ph.D., PE, SM IEEE
Consulting Engineer in Signal Processing and Communications
Commercial Pilot, Airplane single and multiengine land
Instrument airplane
Cessna 172, 310 Owner/Pilot


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 9, 2011 at 7:57 pm

> The airport is a vital part of our national transportation infrastructure.

Sure it is, and you are a very important person that gets to play with other people's lives if your airplane crashes or you make a mistake in judgement.

Your arrogant pomposity, not to mention lack of timeliness is almost funny were the punchline not about other people lives and safety.

The commonality in most of the posts that support this airport that has outlived its usefulness is that you lump the critics and arguments all together and call them ignorant based on the fact that you are a pilot. It is quite possible for anyone, even an experienced pilot to be ignorant, arrogant or human. That's why we try to make decisions based on facts not foolish scare tactics or name calling.

No one said you don't have a right to fly your airplane, so that is another false argument to what is not the problem.

No one said that "hobbyists" don't have a right to fly their airplanes.

The argument is specifically against the location and safety of the Palo Alto airport in the present.

Comparing flying and driving is another specious way to try to avoid the issue as is talking about people making decisions to move near the airport.

Why don't you try to address the arguments, and why don't you try to do it when they are made instead of 4 months and many pages of Palo Alto Town Square Forum subjects later?


Like this comment
Posted by Twin Cessna Pilot
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 10, 2011 at 5:36 am

And you aren't pompous when you say that one is a "very important person playing with other peoples' lives"? When I am flying my plane, and for the vast majority of other aircraft operators, "playing with lives" is the last thing we want to do. That is why the vast majority as I say keep their aircraft properly maintained and flying skills current. You chose to live close to an airport. The airport should not close, and its users be inconvenienced, just because you live close by. All airports are vital to our national infrastructure. It is far easier for you to move than for an airport to be replaced (how many new airports are built each year vs. new houses in the United States? Virtually none).

Like I said, all or nothing, closed minded attitude.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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