I was checking my inbox for news updates the other day when I came across this story about a plane crash in Truckee, Nevada County, just north of Lake Tahoe, on the Californian side:
June 11, 2013
Authorities say a small plane that took off from Southern California missed the runway and crash landed at an airport in the Sierra town of Truckee.
Despite severe damage to the plane, the pilot walked away uninjured.
Nevada County sheriff’s Lt. Alicia Milhous says the 62-year-old pilot took off alone from John Wayne Airport in Orange County shortly before noon Tuesday in a single-engine Cirrus SR22.
About 90 minutes later he approached the Truckee Airport amid gusty winds, clipped a trailer on the way down and crashed into brush about 40 feet off the runway.
Milhous says the plane had heavy damage but the pilot, whose name has not been released, was not hurt.
The cause of the crash has not been determined.
The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.
May 23, 2013
Crews were in the process of rescuing the lone occupant of a small plane that went down Thursday afternoon near Truckee Tahoe Airport, according to the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office.
At about 3 p.m., NCSO received a report that a single-engine aircraft crashed 7 miles east of the airport, near the California/Nevada border, said Undersheriff Joseph Salivar. The report came from the plane’s occupant, using a cellphone. His injuries were unknown.
Helicopter rescue crews from Calfire and the California Highway Patrol assisted in airlifting the victim from the crash site.
The cause of the crash is unknown. It was unclear as of late Thursday if the plane was flying to or from the Truckee airport.
The investigation has been turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.
Two plane crashes at or near a small airport in one month? Just unlucky I guess.
But then I found this:
May 17, 2013
Cal Fire, the California Highway Patrol and a medical helicopter responded to small plane crash in the Tahoe National Forest.According to Federal Aviation Adminstration spokesman Allen Kenitzer, a Cessna 421 was headed to Reno when it was lost off radar about 1:25 p.m.
Cal Fire dispatchers report the air ambulance spotted the downed twin engine plane as did a CHP aircraft crew.
Sierra County sheriff’s deputies had the crash site sealed off until NTSB investigators could reach the area on Friday.
The smoking wreckage could be seen from Verdi peak a few miles to the north just before sunset Thursday evening.
There was no early word on the status of the plane’s pilot and/or passengers.
The Cessna 421 is an eight seat, pressurized aircraft often used as a corporate plane. It was on final descent into Reno when it vanished off radar. The FAA said the aircraft is registered to TRI-WINGS LLC based in Reno.
Dispatchers said witnesses said they saw a fireball in the sky before the plane went down.
Verdi Peak is in California, about 25 miles west of Reno, Nevada and 107 miles northeast of Sacramento.
I guess three plane crashes in one month near an airport that serves a town of 16,000 inhabitants makes them ‘very unlucky’.
In addition, there was a fourth plane crash on the other side of Lake Tahoe between Carson City and Reno, Nevada on May 15, 2013. Again, it involved a small aircraft and again there was no explanation for why it crashed.
There was also this unexplained small aircraft crash near Lake Tahoe last August. In fact, there were two that month. The first, on August 2nd, was also unexplained and was – up until then – the ninth plane crash since 2008 at Truckee Tahoe airport itself.
This means that, altogether, there have been at least 11 plane crashes at just one tiny airport in four years – 15 if we include the other crashes to the north, east and south of Lake Tahoe!
I don’t know if there’s any connection between these events, but I’m wondering if that rate of plane crashes is normal for an airstrip that’s largely servicing general aviation, single-engine, private flyers?