Fatal Accident

What’s the safety record for residential airparks? That’s a frequent question I’m asked at forums and in other conversations.

The answer is that airparks have excellent safety records. The number of reported accidents is extremely low and that includes on airport mishaps and situations that occur off the airpark itself with planes either in the takeoff or approach to landing phase of flight.

A common fear that everyone seems to have is the joint use of streets as passageways for planes and cars or other ground-bound vehicles or pedestrians.

In actuality, that has not been a problem and once again the reports of any collisions between planes and anything else on a joint-use taxiway is non-existent.

We did learn of a fatal accident in Illinois in 1996. It occurred when a Globe GC-1B Swift struck a 12-year-old boy on a mini bike. The youngster was fatally injured.

According to the NTSB report, the accident occurred on Case de Aero Airpark at Hampshire, Ill. The NTSB report states:

“On August 30, 1996 at 8:25 pm (CDT) a Swift, while taxiing at night after landing, was struck by a 12-year-old boy who was riding a mini bike on the taxiway…

“The pilot of the Swift reported that he landed on runway 09 and rolled out to the east mid-field taxiway. The aircraft made a left onto the cross taxiway and then entered the north taxiway and proceeded westbound. The pilot reported that an Arrow was on final approach for landing to runway 09 so he turned off the Swift’s landing lights so as not to blind the pilot. The pilot reported that he left the Swift’s position lights on. The pilot reported that seconds after the Arrow had passed behind the Swift he felt a collision with something. He shut down the engine and gout out to investigate. He reported that he discovered a 12-year-old boy and an unlighted mini bike under the aircraft…

“A witness reported that the boy had been at a friend’s house on the west end of the field. The boy was returning home on his unlighted 3.5 hp mini bike. He was wearing a helmet with a full face, clear plastic visor.

“The mini bike collected with the airplane on the center of the taxiway. The mini bike traveled underneath the aircraft’s left wing root area. The boy did about two hours later.” The examination of the accident site indicated the airplane’s engine cowling was dented above the engine exhaust stack. There were impact marks proceeding along the belly of the aircraft near the left wing root.”

Additional information in the report indicated the airpark rules had no prohibition concerning the use of bikes or motor bikes on the taxiway at night. There was also no rule concerning the use of landing lights while taxiing at night.