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Plane crashes into weigh station off Highway 101

Original post made on Aug 21, 2008

A single-engine plane that crashed Wednesday evening in San Martin was registered to a Palo Alto man, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 21, 2008, 8:35 PM

Comments (4)

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Posted by KT
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 21, 2008 at 11:16 pm

Wow, this is aweful. This is the second plane that went down in a month.....something is going wrong with the Palo Alto plane...maybe it is due time for tune ups on all of the planes flying out of this airport!!!

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Posted by obvious question, part 2
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 24, 2008 at 6:45 pm

Or, is someone vandalizing the planes at the airport? ...fatal consequences for the pilots, with the incriminating evidence destroyed in the crash.

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Posted by Tim
a resident of another community
on Aug 24, 2008 at 8:37 pm

First, the plane was NOT based in Palo Alto - it was based in San Jose. The crash happened in south Santa Clara county after maintenance - painting - that *may* have involved removing key components to paint and to re-install, although it's up to the FAA to decide if that was a cause. At that airport, turning on final - heading north - probably at 500 feet in altitude maybe a half mile from the airport, then 2500 feet from the airport making a diving right turn to crash into the only building around means that the airplane was not under control. One report said the left wing lift went up, and the plane dove into the truck station. A small plane like that *could* land almost anywhere near the airport and the pilot could survive, so either the pilot was unable to fly (unconscious?) or the airplane had a catastrophic failure. If a flap separated from the right wing, the aircraft *would* sharply turn to the right, and perhaps spin inverted into the ground out of control. In almost any other case, the pilot should be able to put it down in a field and avoid the only hard thing within a half mile. Flying a plane is statistically only a bit more safe than riding a motorcycle, but sometimes bed things happen.

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Posted by Milo McLean
a resident of Los Altos
on Jul 13, 2015 at 9:02 pm

I was an owner of the plane, and yes, it had just been overhauled in order to sell it )partnership problems). Two of the partners loved the maintenance company in South County and it had just been totally disassembled, painted and re-assembled, and the pilot was on the checkout ride. I've never heard of a shop that isn't willing to put some skin in the game to accompany you on the check ride, but in South County, they don't do that. NTSB could not provide a certain cause.. but given the pilot's autopsy, they found some major issues around his heart and speculate he had a heart attack.. but the sad thing is, at 500 feet and less than a mile out, on stable approach, ANY other person in the place could have kept it level and touched down.. just keep the freaking yoke where it is until the plane touch the runway..then turn off the engine. The pilot may have been dead already who knows.. but a diving right turn into a building is alot less survivable than touching down at 75 and stopping on the runway.

Moral I take from the story: NEVER let a maintenance shop not go with you on the ride.. if they don't trust their work, you shouldn't either.

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