Aircraft hits an SUV: Who’s fault was it?

In Roanoke (Texas) over the weekend, a single-engine plane clipped a passing SUV while making a landing and the incident was caught on video by the wife of the pilot who was on the ground filming her husband doing a solo. Luckily, no one was seriously injured in the incident but both the aircraft and the SUV suffered extensive damage plus the student pilot decided to quit flying just four weeks before he would have received his private pilot’s license.

Apparently, the airport does not own the road in front of the runway and there is a stop sign there – or rather the word “STOP” is written on the road: - Plane Hits SUV-w800-h600

A local news station then aired this segment with an interview with the couple in the SUV, the pilot and his wife and the airport owners:

On You Tube, several commenters posted comments about displaced threshold and the fence being at the end of the runway. In other words, perhaps the pilot came in too low.

However, we want to ask readers what you think after watching the video: Irrespective of whether it’s a smart idea to have a road at the end of an active runway, was the pilot at fault in any way?


3 Responses to Aircraft hits an SUV: Who’s fault was it?

  1. Mike B November 6, 2012 at 16:09 #

    They are both at fault, but the pilot a little bit more. It’s plain to see that he was way to low for landing with the displaced threshold. Plus if he had a landing light on, maybe the driver of the SUV might have seen it. Not sure if there is a posted stop sign, but since it’s not an intersection, how many vehicles really stop? Of course, we all know the the driver of the SUV is going to claim that they stopped.

  2. Eric Dobson November 6, 2012 at 19:25 #

    Everyone had the opportunity to avoid this, but I wouldn’t say the blame is equal.

    If there is a realistic chance of this happening, there needs to be positive control on that road, or it should be rerouted.

    The driver perhaps should’ve seen the plane, but it doesn’t seem like the stop is clearly marked, and drivers aren’t trained to look ip for a potential airplane collision.

    Pilots are trained to watch for runway incursion. If there was any possible obstruction along the approach path or he was too low, he should’ve gone around. That’s the nature of being a pilot in command. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances were or how others could’ve avoided it, he failed to fly the plane safely.

  3. Derek November 7, 2012 at 05:27 #

    I used to fly out of this airport. It has a 400 ft displaced threshold and a 4.35 degree approach slope. The pilot was way low and way short. The driver of the car screwed up too. I also think the flight instructor should not have let him solo at such a challenging airport. The approach and the runway are not the most forgiving.

Leave a Reply