Small plane crashes near Florida home, killing veteran pilot

When flying in an airplane, one trusts that the pilot is experienced, that the airlines will carefully address any issues of concern and that the plane has been properly maintained. Passengers and pilots also trust that manufacturers of aircraft and aircraft components continue to follow regulations and guidelines in order to prevent aviation accidents caused by a dangerous or defective aircraft product.

Airplane accidents are complex and often require months of investigations before the cause of the accident can be determined. The family of a veteran pilot killed earlier this month in Florida will possibly have to wait an entire year before they can learn the cause of the crash that killed their loved one. The 64-year-old man was killed on May 2 after his 1957 Beechcraft suddenly crashed into the yard of an Opa-locka, Florida, home.

According to reports, the plane accident occurred around 8:15 a.m. The pilot had just taken off from Opa-locka airport and was headed for the Bahamas. The plane had traveled only a few hundred feet after take-off when the pilot called the Opa-locka tower to warn others that the plane was experiencing some engine problems and was about to crash.

The plane suddenly went down and crashed into some trees, a fence and two vehicles before hitting the ground. The accident caused the plane to explode into flames and nearby residents had to be evacuated from their homes. Thirty Miami-Dade Fire Rescue units responded to the scene and spent nearly an hour trying to put the flames out. By the time the units had put the flames out, more than half of the plane had melted into ashes. Crews were not able to rescue the pilot. No one else was injured near the crash site.

The man’s brother commented that the pilot “was an expert in difficult situations.” The man’s stepson also commented that his stepfather loved flying planes and always made sure that others were safe with him.

The National Transportation Safety Board said that the investigation of last week’s crash could last up to a year in order to determine what caused the fatal accident.

Source:The Miami Herald: “Pilot killed in sudden crash at airport,” Lidia Dinkova and Karina Chavarria, 3 May 2011