A Texas student pilot four weeks away from receiving his pilot license has given up flying after a crash in which his plane clipped the top of an SUV.
“Things like that make you reconsider what is important and what could have happened,” the would-be pilot, William Davis, told ABC affiliate WFAA-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth. “I have a young daughter and a wife, and they need me to be there to take care of them.”
Davis was preparing to land his 2005 Cessna Skyhawk plane at the north end of the runway at the Northwest Regional Airport in Roanoke, Texas, about 25 miles northwest of Dallas, Saturday morning when an SUV on a road near the runway did not stop. The collision caused the landing gear of Davis’ plane to clip the top of the SUV, all while traveling at a speed of nearly 65 mph.
“I was shocked,” Davis, piloting his first solo round-trip flight, told WFAA. “Just from the video that I saw, it looks like they kept going … they didn’t stop at the stop sign.”
Video of the crash was captured by Davis’ wife, Kandy, whom he’d asked to capture his first solo trip. Instead, she captured her husband’s aircraft clipping the roof of the SUV driven by Frank and Heather Laudo, a couple from nearby Flower Mound, Texas, on their way to lunch.
“We couldn’t see anything at all, and then, all of a sudden, equipment was falling into the car,” Heather Laudo told WFAA. “There was … glass everywhere.”
Despite the impact, and even without his landing gear, Davis, who could not be reached for comment, was able to land the plane on its belly on the runway before skidding off onto a grassy area. There were no injuries.
Frank Laudo, who was also not available for comment when reached today by ABCNews.com, managed to steer the vehicle safely to the side of the road while his wife called 911, according to Trooper Lonnie Haschel, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The Laudos told WFAA they are regulars at the airport and know the protocols of stopping while the runway is active. The video, the Davises say, shows the word STOP is painted on the pavement ahead of the runway where the Laudos should have stopped, and where another car had gone ahead moments before the crash.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash.
Saturday’s crash is the fourth incident at the regional airport in the past six weeks, according to WFAA.
In September, two men were killed when their plane crashed soon after takeoff. Last month, a plane carrying a local doctor, his two sons and their uncle was found in ruins after vanishing after takeoff and, five days later, a plane hit a fence and flipped over during takeoff. The pilot, in that case, escaped serious injury, WFAA reported.
- Disasters & Accidents