Lawmakers call for safety review of Pacoima’s Whiteman Airport following recent crashes – Daily News

U.S. Representative Tony Cardenas has issued a letter requesting a full security review of Pacoima’s Whiteman Airport, his office said Wednesday, Jan. 12, three days after a plane crashed near the facility and was hit by a train.

“The pattern of these incidents raises serious concerns for the safety of the communities and families surrounding Whiteman Airport, as well as the pilots, staff and personnel who have access to or are at the airport,” wrote Cardenas, a Democrat whose 29th district includes Pacoima.

The letter to the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board follows several plane crashes, including one on Sunday, Jan. 9, in which a Cessna 172 attempted an emergency landing on a set of nearby runways. . Police managed to rescue the pilot and sole occupant of the crashed plane moments before a Metrolink train hit him at full speed.

LAFD firefighters examine a small plane that crashed seconds after taking off from Whiteman Airport in Pacoima on Sunday, January 9, 2022. (Photo by Mike Meadows)

The pilot was taken to a trauma center by paramedics and treated for non-life-threatening injuries, police said. No other injuries were reported among those on the ground or the 66 passengers aboard the train that struck the plane, Metrolink officials said.

This accident is already under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

“Tragically, this latest incident reflects yet another example of the threat to public safety that Whiteman Airport continues to pose to my constituents, and why I have been a consistent voice for its closure,” said Monica Rodriguez, Advisor Los Angeles Municipal Council for the 7th District. said in a statement responding to Sunday’s crash.

Cardenas highlighted an earlier crash in November 2020, when a single-engine Cessna 182 approaching Whiteman knocked down power lines before hitting parked cars on a residential street. This pilot, who died in the accident, was alone in the plane and was part of the Civil Air Patrol.

“Tower Whiteman CAP439, we have a loss of engine power here. We will try to stretch it to the runway, ”this pilot told air traffic controllers shortly before the fatal accident a little over a year ago. ‘a year.

“The runway is clear and you can land,” replied airport staff.

“Hopefully we’ll get there,” replied the pilot.

Firefighters are at the scene of a fatal plane crash Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, on the 10600 block of Sutter Avenue near Whiteman Airport in Pacoima. The plane caught fire, killing the pilot, downing power lines and burning at least two vehicles. (Photo by Mike Meadows/Special for the Los Angeles Daily News)

In 2018, a 12-year-old child was among two killed when a Cessna 150L taking off from Whiteman Airport crashed into a building. The pilot, also deceased, was a 60-year-old flight instructor, according to media reports.

Cardenas said the NTSB database shows that 16 aviation accidents related to Whiteman Airport have occurred since 2009. He requested a report regarding:

— All aircraft incident reports and/or citations made by the FAA regarding traffic entering and exiting the airport;

— A review to determine whether the airport meets all federal, state, and local safety and operating standards;

— A record of any past issues with compliance with federal safety and operational standards and regulations, including steps taken to mitigate those issues;

— Details of how security training is conducted, the frequency of such training and an account of who is responsible for training those who have access to the airport and/or fly aircraft;

— A history of incidents and accidents occurring at the airport or en route to and from the airport since its opening, including a comparison with other similar general aviation airports;

— Specific information about the January 9 accident, including any communication between the pilot and the airport as well as any communication between the airport and the Metrolink rail line before, during or after the incident;

— An account of the processes and/or procedures put in place after such incidents to ensure that all operational safety standards were met before, during and after aircraft incidents.

“All airports have a responsibility to meet the necessary airport safety and operational standards in order to fulfill the required certification and to ensure that all safety practices are fully adhered to, as required by the Federal Aviation Administration and the relevant national and local agencies,” Cardenas said.

“Fair and transparent investigations like these keep communities safe, result in safer skies, prevent loss of life and ensure airports meet necessary safety standards.”

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