Friday, January 16, 2004

How’s this for a way to start your New Year?

I know I'm about two weeks late posting this, but for some reason the pilot in the family (i.e. - yours truly) is the last to know about this avaition accident that was a near miss for my loved ones. Strangely enough, I heard about it through my father-in-law, who heard about it from a business contact who knows my mom and had heard it from her! Talk about lines of communication! But I digress, read on...

As covered in this Fort Worth Star Telegram Article, a small plane crashed into a neighborhood in Dallas about 3 miles south of Addison airport on January 1, 2004. While this in and of itself is enough to interest me, it gets more interesting...

For those of you who don't know the layout of this part of Dallas, Addison airport has a north-south runway. This plane was taking off to the south, made it about three miles south, and crashed. The first thing it hit was the roof of a house that was unoccupied and under renovation. Still falling and travelling south, it then hit the street and slid into the garage of the house across the street. The two people in the second house made it to safety. Both homes went up in flames and it was a four alarm fire. The pilot and passenger were both killed.

Now, think how you would feel if you lived in the house just to the north of the house that was hit? You would have been in the plane's flight path, and a mere 100 feet would have separated you from disaster. Well, the people in that house are none other than my sister, brother-in-law, and two neices! And they were home when it happened! My sister apparently heard the engine noise but didn't realize it was a plane even after she heard a crash and saw the fireball! The winds were out of the south, so the smoke blew in their direction and quickly obscured everything to the point that they left their house fearing the fire was moving their direction. It was about 10 minutes later when the news started reporting it as a plane crash that they realized it was not a gas main or a bomb.

Here are some other reports of this incident. Most say the same things as the Fort Worth article, though this article out of Tyler is significant as a commentary on the life and character of the pilot of the plane. There is also one in the Dallas Morning News, though they require a (free) registration to access their site.