A plane crash in Houston is one of several aviation accidents to occur around the country within the last few days. The Houston plane crash killed three members of a Moore, Oklahoma family on Thursday, June 9. The next day, an aviation accident in Hawthorne, California killed two people.
Surveillance Video Captures Houston Plane Crash
June 9, 2016
Three members of a Moore, Oklahoma family were killed on Thursday in a plane crash near Hobby Airport in Houston. Local law enforcement officials have indicated that the Houston plane crash happened at around 1:00 p.m. on the 6800 block of Telephone Road.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the single engine Cirrus SR-20 plane departed from an airport in Norman, Oklahoma at around 10:15 a.m. The flight was supposed to take around three hours to complete.
While making the final approach to a runway at Hobby Airport, the pilot was instructed by air traffic controllers to perform a go around and proceed to a different runway. During the second landing attempt, air traffic controllers told the pilot to perform a second go around because the plane appeared to be too high.
As the plane was turning around for a third landing attempt, the Cirrus SR-20 began to fly low and slow, according to witnesses. The aircraft then appeared to enter into a flat spin as it plummeted from the sky, impacting with a parked car in the ACE Hardware parking lot.
Video surveillance footage from an ACE Hardware store captured the moment of impact, which to the astonishment of many, did not spark a post-crash fire. The pilot and two passengers aboard the small plane were killed immediately in the Houston plane crash.
Authorities in Oklahoma have identified the victims as Tony, Dana and Jerry Gray. The three family members were taking a trip to visit another member of the family undergoing cancer treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Dana Gray was reportedly flying the plane at the time of the crash. Tony Gray was her husband and Jerry was her brother-in-law.
At a press conference on Friday following the Houston plane crash, National Transportation Safety Board investigator Tom Latson said officials are uncertain at this time what caused the plane to go down, though they will be looking into a number of issues. Latson said investigators will interview air traffic control personnel at Hobby Airport to determine why the go-arounds were requested.
When asked if the Cirrus SR-20 may have run out of fuel, Latson said the plane was topped off in Norman before takeoff, which should have provided approximately five hours of flight time. The plane went down after being in the air for roughly three hours.
Latson did note that the plane’s fuel tanks were completely disrupted in the Houston plane crash, so investigators will need to analyze the fuel lines to see if an empty tank was indeed a factor.
The Cirrus SR-20 was equipped with an emergency parachute system to be deployed in emergencies. Latson told reporters Friday it did not appear that the pilot had activated the parachute from the cockpit, as the handle to deploy the parachute was still in its casing.
Officials will also be looking into maintenance records for the aircraft as well as the pilot’s training and actions in the moments prior to the Houston plane crash. A preliminary report is expected within the next week or so.
Two Killed After Plane Crashes into Hawthorne Townhome
June 10, 2016
Two people were killed late Friday afternoon when a small plane crashed into a two-story townhome in Hawthorne. The fatal aviation accident was reported at around 5:10 p.m. on the 4500 block of Broadway, less than a mile away from Hawthorne Municipal Airport. Authorities have indicated that the small plane crashed shortly after taking off from the airport.
Friday’s aviation accident caused the townhome to catch fire, though firefighters were quick to put out the blaze after arriving at the scene. Two units of the townhome were impacted, though officials have said no residents were in the building at the time.
A witness to the aviation accident recalled hearing the plane’s engine sputter shortly before it impacted with the townhouse. According to an official with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the plane was a Grumman American AA-1B.
Aviation Consumer has reported that the AA-1 Series has a spotty safety record. An exhaustive review of AA-1 aviation accidents between 1976 and 1984 revealed a total accident rate of 14.6 per 100,000 aircraft hours, and a fatal rate of 3.2 (by comparison, the Cessna 150/152 had a total accident rate of 10.0 and a fatal rate of 1.1 over the same period). The leading cause of AA-1 aviation accidents, according to the Aviation Consumer report, was engine failure due to fuel mismanagement and mechanical failures.
Officials have been able to identify one of the victims from the Hawthorne crash as 90-year-old Aron Rappaport, a Los Angeles resident. According to FAA records, Mr. Rappaport held a pilot’s license and was rated to land both single-engine and multi-engine aircraft, as well as fly on instruments and fly a glider.
The other victim was too badly burned in the post-crash fire to be identified at this time. According to the Daily Breeze, the other victim was reportedly a pilot and flight instructor.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be handling an investigation into the crash.
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