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Feds to 'Look at Plane in Greater Detail'

A federal investigation surrounding Monday's plane crash is ongoing.

Federal officials will be at on Tuesday as part of an ongoing investigation into the plane crash that occurred in Santa Monica on Monday afternoon.

Members of the National Transportation Safety Board will be there to "listen to voice tapes, interview maintenance workers and speak with people at the flight school," senior NTSB official Wayne Pollack said, according to City News Service.

On Wednesday, the officials "will look at the plane in greater detail."

(Pollack has not returned Santa Monica Patch's request for comment.)

The federal officials will be trying to figure out what caused the crash, during which a student pilot and were injured. The single-engine Cessna crashed into a house near 21st and Navy streets at 2:29 p.m., shortly after taking off from SMO.

Late Monday, the wreckage was removed, and fuel was pumped out of the plane, according to reports.

The pilot suffered a compound leg fracture, and the worker suffered injuries to his hair and hand.

The student pilot was reportedly practicing takeoffs and landings. The pilot's name has not yet been released.

The plane "crashed just after takeoff [or a go-around] into a residential backyard under unknown circumstances," said Allen Kenitzer of the Federal Aviation Administration, according to CNS.

Representatives for the airport have not responded to Santa Monica Patch's request for comment.

More on Monday's plane crash:

• (blog post)

Rob Nokes August 31, 2011 at 12:04 AM
For those not knowledgable about noise levels, Santa Monica's base noise level is about 55 db, the prop planes add 20-40 when they buzz my house. The speed of the planes, model of engine and exhaust, the direction of the wind, and angle of the plane, and distance to our homes determines how much louder a plane is over the base noise floor of Santa Monica. Humans instinctively feel the vibrations and hear the sounds which raises an alarm to fight or flee. That's why these planes are such a nuisance. Please fly higher over our homes.
Bob August 31, 2011 at 05:26 AM
@Rob Nokes: I'm sorry, but pilots simply do not "practice turns at low altitude and high speeds" in a residential area. That's just not how flight training works. I would encourage you to do a little more research into the topic before making such an outlandish statement. FAA regulations require a minimum altitude (except when taking off or landing) of 1000 feet above the highest obstacle within 2000 feet of the aircraft. The only maneuvers that are practiced by student pilots that even closely resemble what you are describing would be "steep turns", which are typically practiced many miles away from the airport, at altitudes greater than 4000 feet. Furthermore, Santa Monica airport traffic control would certainly never allow students to practice "high speed" or "low altitude" turns within the 5 mile radius surrounding the airport over which they have jurisdiction. This airspace, as with the airspace surrounding any other towered airport, is strictly controlled for the purpose of facilitating takeoffs and landings.
natalie mcadams August 31, 2011 at 05:41 AM
Bob, I am not sure about common pilot practices but i can tell you this, the planes are not even 100' above my house when they come in for a landing and if they miss on their approach, which they do often, you can bet that they are banking a steep turn at far less than what you indicate as the acceptable levels and if you have any doubt about this, come hang out on the East side of Bundy Drive on a Sunday night, particularly a foggy one.
Rob Nokes August 31, 2011 at 05:41 AM
Bob spin it anyway you want with your legal fast-talking but it sounds like bloody Pearl Harbor when the wind is blowing the wrong way. The rest of the time it's just annoying and sometimes scary to have prop planes buzzing our homes. Let's just agree to disagree.
B August 31, 2011 at 08:03 AM
Excuse me Bill, but I DO want the airport here! I am a lifelong resident of Santa Monica, and live under the flight path, but I am not complaining. You sound like a developer or realtor who has been desperate to get their hands on that property so you can make a fast buck! I would rather have a few planes than thousands of people if that area was developed, and the crime and noise and traffic- and pollution that goes with them! You don't like the community- then you can move!
Greg Fry August 31, 2011 at 03:23 PM
That is a disingenuous argument since the airport did not have anywhere near the level of traffic that it currently does nor were jets allowed to use its too-short runway. Neighbors are sick of the noise, sick of the pollution and most importantly sick of the dangers proven once again by the latest plane crash in operating an obsolete airport in a densely packed neighborhood!
Greg Fry August 31, 2011 at 03:35 PM
"Touch and go landings are not particularly dangerous?" An "opinion" and not a "fact"? Well, the "fact" is that we just had a crash with a pilot doing exactly that! As for needing SMO in an emergency--there are plenty of airports around town that are built with much higher safety standards that do not pose a serious risk to the health and safety of their surrounding communities and I'm sure they can handle any emergency situation just fine!
Bob August 31, 2011 at 04:12 PM
Natalie, Missed approaches and go-arounds don't result in steep turns. You make it sound like the planes decide to veer off-course at the last minute - which just doesn't happen. If a plane decides to abort a landing, for whatever reason, they simply start a climb - while maintaining the same straight-ahead, runway-aligned direction - they don't turn until much later. So, I'm not sure what you're seeing.
Zina Josephs August 31, 2011 at 07:31 PM
Some of the plane crashes associated with Santa Monica Airport: 1/18/1992 -- Mooney M-20-C clipped a utility pole, caught fire, and crashed in the yard of a home on Dewey St. & 23rd. Pilot and passenger died. 11/26/1993 -- Siai-Marchetti F-260 crashed into an apartment building on 4th St. near Bay. Pilot and 2 passengers died. 3/11/1994 -- Piper PA-28-180 aircraft crashed into home on Barrington Ave. Pilot injured, passenger died. 4/20/1994 -- Piper PA-32R-301T aircraft crashed in the backyard of a house on Ashland Ave. Pilot died. 5/7/1995 -- Davenport Long-EZ home-built aircraft crashed into a Mar Vista home. Pilot injured. 11/13/2001 -- Cessna 340A aircraft skidded off runway and caught fire near 23rd St. Pilot and passenger died. 6/6/2003 -- Beechcraft departed from SMO and crashed into an apartment building near Fairfax High School. 5 fatalities and 10 people criticallly injured. 3/16/2004 -- Mooney M20K aircraft crashed into a Mar Vista home while trying to land at foggy SMO. Pilot and his wife died. 3/13/2006 -- Beech A36 lost power after departing from SMO. The pilot tried to return but ditched into the ocean. Pilot and his wife died. 1/28/2009 -- Siai-archetti SF-260C aircraft lost power during takeoff, crashed on the end of the runway, and caught fire. Pilot and passenger died. 7/1/2010 -- Cessna 152 was cleared for touch-and-go pattern work, but the plane crashed nose-down on Penmar Golf Course. Pilot died.
Greg Fry August 31, 2011 at 07:39 PM
Wasn't there another incident in the last decade or so when a plane crashed at Webster Junior High School--fortunately (if one can use that word) when children weren't present?
Richard B August 31, 2011 at 09:04 PM
Hey Marshall- Just curious do you even live in LA? I bet you are one of those guys who just likes to fly into SMO and impress his dates -
B August 31, 2011 at 10:10 PM
So you have a dozen crashes in a decade. Sounds dangerous! Let's prohibit all aircraft and just use autos. Autos are so, so safe, since nobody has ever been hurt or killed by one. Right?
Greg Fry August 31, 2011 at 10:19 PM
A dozen crashes in and around populated areas are a dozen too many. Take the flights to safer airports with longer runways and less surrounding population density.
natalie mcadams September 01, 2011 at 01:21 AM
Bob, in response to your comment about the missed approaches, what I see is C and D jets coming through the marine layer on their quote "stabilized approach" and realizing that they are not aligned with the runway and having to suddenly abort. Since the jets are trying to hit as much runway as they can (due to the fact the runway is too short by FAA standards), they are VERY low to the ground. So when they abort, they have to gun the throttle resulting in a huge noise and waking up everyone in our home since they come in before 7am and after 10pm. As far as the prop planes, how would you feel if you were in your backyard with your kids watching the prop come in in a slip. This a common practice at flight schools - noisy and dangerous. Which flight school do you work for? If you truly are this blind to what happens, why don't you come over to this neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon and sit and watch for a while. Marshal, my dad was a pilot and my husband trained at SMO. For you information, in flight planes are inherently stable. Take offs and landings are the most dangerous b/c they involve pilot error. So they are indeed inherently dangerous. By the way, read the UCLA study for information on the carcinogens. “Aircraft Emission Impacts in a Neighborhood Adjacent to a General Aviation Airport in Southern California” UCLA Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences you can find it on the site http://jetairpollution.com/ under recent studies.
Ed September 01, 2011 at 04:48 AM
It's amusing to read the pro-airport commentators' replies. They really should stop embarrassing themselves; indeed they need to wake up and smell the coffee as the facts are clear: SMO is life-endangering to the surrounding community in addition to the obvious air and noise pollution.
Bob September 01, 2011 at 04:45 PM
Natalie, I honestly don't work for a flight school. I have, however, flown prop planes at Santa Monica. And before you ask, no, I'm not rich - just someone who's always wanted to learn to fly, and was finally able to realize that ambition. I wish some of you had the opportunity to take a flight lesson or two out of Santa Monica - you would perhaps then realize just how dedicated to safety everyone who works there is.
Jim September 01, 2011 at 07:12 PM
The airport is an anachronism in present-day Santa Monica. The flight schools bring far too little benefit, and impart far too much health and safety risk -- it seems inevitable that they'll be closed soon. Recreational flying has a similarly poor post-benefit ratio in this densely occupied region. The jet traffic is probably important to local companies (and wealthy/influential individuals) so it's less clear how the city will deal with it, though the runway length and air pollution issues are serious and the noise/jetwash issues described above sound pretty awful. Bottom line is that the airport is extremely unpopular among residents and the regular crashes and scientific studies about environmental pollution are adding to its problems. It would be political suicide for the city councillors to renew the lease without major changes after 2015.
james schumacher September 01, 2011 at 09:22 PM
i think the post by zina josephs says it all. not only do the crashes effect the immediate area but all areas of the city; and los angeles. i can remember being terrorized when the single engine crashed and killed two people on 4th st...ON 4TH ST! it would be interesting to see where these pilots and victims lived before crashing and dying. how many sm residents own jets and cessnas and use the airport? next to nill i would imagine. what's the proportion of my taxes and fees going to the upkeep of the airport and the citizens that actually use it. it's like saying santa monica college is a community service! CLOSE THE AIRPORT AND PASS THE SAVINGS ON TO RESIDENTS!
Rob Nokes September 01, 2011 at 09:45 PM
Santa Monica College is an incredible asset to the community, hundreds of thousands of global students have come to Santa Monica and enjoyed Santa Monica life and have gone on to preach to the world about the beauty of Santa Monica. That results in massive tourism for the community. Thumbs up to SMC!
mike bell September 03, 2011 at 07:17 PM
There's a greater chance of a drunk driver jumping the curb and driving into your house than a plane dropping out of the sky. I don't think people realize how strictly regulated and inspected these flight schools are. It not as if anyone with a pilots license can go out there with a plane a "train" student pilots. The amount of oversight the FAA does in the area of flight school operations would curl your hair. As for the above examples of incidents at Santa Monica Airport, allow me to counter with the number of fatal traffic accidents on the streets of Santa Monica. How much time ya got?
Greg Fry September 03, 2011 at 07:32 PM
Allow me to counter with the number of incidents where houses have been destroyed within the small circumference of the area around Santa Monica Airport. One is one too many in any case since the flight schools can all be located elsewhere where the conditions really are safer for all.
Rob Nokes September 03, 2011 at 09:10 PM
Consider that 99% of residents benefit from the cars, streets, and side-walks of the densely populated neighborhoods around Santa Monica Airport versus what, 0.001% of residents that have anything to do with the airport. Traffic Accidents are higher simply due to volume. It is an accepted risk by the community because we all benefit from the streets and sidewalks. The airport has virtually no benefit to a super majority of the community. I hate the airport because of the obnoxious scary sound of the airplanes that circle my house, it's like Pearl Harbor on some days. Residents in Mar Vista hate the airport because of the fear of crashes, noise, and most importantly the toxic pollution that spews into their families lungs and gardens. The people in Culver City hate the training path that the student pilots take which has them circling homes all day. Venice residents get a majority of the very loud jets, they have been abused for years since Rose Ave was generally a dilapidated corridor that was a direct path to the ocean and away from the more affluent Santa Monica neighborhoods (voters). The airport is no friend to our community. At the very least get rid of the student pilots and show some good faith to our neighborhoods.
Gary Kavanagh September 03, 2011 at 11:04 PM
I'm not a big fan of the air flights, but I think in assessing risks, we have to look at how threats compare. The safety record of driving in Santa Monica, with loss of life, injury, and public and private property damage, dwarfs the negative impacts of the airport by a large margin. I do sympathize with some of the impacts of those that live right near by, and flying in general has a pretty high impact in pollution and energy use. However when it comes to fearing for my safety, I am much more concerned by reckless driving and the possibility of myself or property being slammed into by a car, than I am worried about the relatively minor risk of crashing aircraft. The constant flow of pollutants and braking particles and other fun substances pumping out of the freeway into the air all over Santa Monica, including some of it's densest areas, I think poses a bigger ongoing health risk to more lungs than the airport. There is no talk of shutting down local driving schools, shutting down the freeway or lowering speeds on boulevards. Granted the freeway system serves many more people than does the airport, but when it gets down to it we essentially have a very high tolerance for destruction caused by driving and traffic, that we are unwilling to substantially address, because fast driving has become a proxy for freedom in our culture. We value the freedom to drive fast greater than we value the numerous lives lost in doing do so.
Greg Fry September 04, 2011 at 12:46 AM
There are no ready alternatives to traffic on local streets and freeways. Traffic is a necessary part of all daily activities from work to shopping to safety, etc. Situating flight schools at SMO have next to nothing to do with vital activities and can easily be relocated to a safer venue. Likewise all other activities at SMO. The worst that can be said abut relocating SMO activities is that it might slightly inconvenience a handful of pilots and passengers. The best that can be said is relocating flight schools and other activities at SMO will save lives and reduce an incredible amount of noise and pollution affecting hundreds of thousands of people in the area.. Close it all down!
Gary Kavanagh September 04, 2011 at 01:29 AM
Traffic is not a necessary daily activity for work, shopping, or anything else I do. I don't own a car, I ride a bike to work, for shopping, and almost everything I do. I use public transit when I want to get out to places further than I care to bike to. Life can go on without a car, and can even be more enjoyable without one. I never want to own a car again. I'm under no illusion that everyone would be willing to make such lifestyle changes, but no other industrialized country has as poor a driving safety record as the United States. There are simple changes in road engineering to reduce speeding, along with enforcement and education efforts, all things that could drastically cut down our fatality rate. This has been proven the world over, but in America we value vehicle speed greater human life, and that is reflected in the criteria of our engineering standards and our lackadaisical approach to traffic regulation. For these reasons I find jumping up and down about air traffic safety to be odd in light of how little we care about the safety of much greater threats in our lives.
Greg Fry September 04, 2011 at 02:30 AM
If you are genuinely that green then you ought to be appalled by the tons of pollution spewed by these flying machines to transport such a few number of individuals, plus the extreme danger of doing so at an airport with a too-short runway surrounded by densely populated neighborhoods. If you want to start to reduce the carbon footprint then starting with private planes at SMO is a no brainer. Again: unlike truck and auto traffic, SMO is a redundant relic and all activities need to be moved to where they may take place more safely.
Gary Kavanagh September 04, 2011 at 04:59 PM
I never said I was for keeping air service, I agree it's mostly wasteful considering how much pollution and CO2 impact for how few people it serves. What I find frustrating is that an incident which could have killed people but didn't, in an aircraft, evokes far more outrage and call to action, than the frequent cases in which someone driving actually does kill people. Fatalities from driving is simply accepted in our culture as though it were inevitable, but it isn't. There are places in the world , dense populated urban areas, where if a bicyclist so much as scrapes their knee because a driver knocked them over, that is front page news because injury and death by automobile is so such a rarity thanks to better engineering, enforcement and education. That is no exaggeration either, I watched the media coverage for such a case in the Netherlands. The extreme danger in our lives is the automobile, and as someone under the age of 30, traffic collision is the number one cause of death by a large margin.
Greg Fry September 04, 2011 at 06:29 PM
In addition let's not forget the silent killer that pollutants represent. I couldn't agree more that ground traffic concerns absolutely need to be addressed as a major component. At least a few things are being accomplished in this regard--the Westside is finally to get upgraded mass transit service with the completion of the expo line hopefully no more than a few years hence, and hopefully someday the "subway to the sea" will be realized. We need more dedicated pathways for bicycles and alternative vehicles as well. All these involve complicated weighing of costs and benefits and a great deal of planning and money. Shutting down SMO and its dangers and pollutants does not, and would be a progressive first step towards the goal of a greener and safer environment.
Rob Nokes September 13, 2011 at 12:27 AM
All people motivated to get rid if the student pilots over our neighborhoods should come out and join local residents tonight. Some of you have issues with pollution, shares those comments as well. I personally hate the terrifying noise over my home when the "Kamikaze Student Pilots" start circling my home for hours. September 12th at 7PM at Joslyn Park Auditorium, 633 Kensington. We have a very comprehensive and inspiring presentation by Airport Commissioner David Goddard and Sunset Park Resident John Fairweather. This is a very crucial time in the city's decision making process regarding what the city will do with the airport in 2015. David will present a list of can and can't do's. John will give a power point presentation on his latest study.
Martin Rubin January 17, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Stay up-to-date on Santa Monica Airport (SMO) issues and community efforts to get rid of the jet pollution (both air and noise), get rid of leaded Aviation Gasoline, get rid of pattern flying at SMO, and eventually close SMO. Sign-up to be on the CONCERNED RESIDENTS AGAINST AIRPORT POLLUTION contact list at http://www.jetairpollution.com .

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