Cessna crashes onto tracks; struck by Metrolink train

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Rambling Robert

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We've been talking about this one at work lately because it's so far out there. Then we go ahead and jokingly ask the next question. Who's jurisdiction FRA, or FAA. Definitely this hits the NTSB.
IMO Secretary Pete should be working on this.

Inter-agencies typically have a joint services agreement ex. Police: state/county/local. Army/Navy/Marines/USAF. 911/Mayday
 
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Cal

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What universal distress call is associated with the railroads?
I do feel that there is less of a need for a universal distress call with (American) railroads. Aviation and railroading are two very different things and the need for a universal distress call is needed much more in aviation, where they might not know their nearest airport, and they need information on arrival, and they need to make sure ATC knows to keep their path clear so ATC can in turn direct planes away. Trains can stop anywhere, the crew should know their surroundings, and PTC is there on most major lines to stop other trains around them if the dispatcher fails to do their job.
 

UserNameRequired

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Okay a Cessna 172 uses Avgas 100 or 110 which is highly flammable! The fuel tanks are in the wings of the aircraft. There is minimal if any fuel leakage shown in the video after the plane's wings clipped the various poles (crossing guards, lights, etc). And the fact that even after the train hit it and it pretty much disintegrated there was no fire? My guess is that the original airplane emergency was lack of fuel?

I respectfully disagree about the fuel leakage shown in the officers body cam. I see liquid on both sides of the aircraft on the ground. On the copilot side, there is quite a bit of a wet area running down 20’ or so. The 172s I know do not have a wet wing, so the tank is a second separate vessel inside the wing skin (meaning the skin could be torn up/bent some and the inner tank may have less damage and not leak as much as would be expected). Why it didn’t ignite? I don’t’ know…
 

UserNameRequired

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The thought occurs, how inappropriate would it be for a bystander/participant scanning RR frequencies with transmit capability transmit a Mayday on such freq. to any approaching train?
 

UserNameRequired

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Since these airplanes, unconscionably, are running leaded gasoline, that's a toxics spill.
Yes with the benzene and toluene xylene at likely much higher concentrations than the lead, nasty stuff! I would assume the authorities on the scene are experienced at dealing with a spill like this. My daughter is LE and she says they call the fire department to come clean up the mess. The fire department has training for this. It could be around 50 gallons to deal with depending on which tank size this 172 had, so typically I could see this like a bad two car collision. The FAA has been so slow to certify a 100 unleaded, it is frustrating. There is a candidate now called G100UL that should be a full replacement for 100LL avgas for the fleet, but it may be later in 2022 for full certification and possibly 2023? for a full availability.
edit: I talked to my firefighter friend, he notes if the spill is small, they use oil-dri on it, and then scoop it up after it drys. Then they dispose of the oil-dri in a proper manner, hazmat to the landfill. If it is really bad like a tanker or something, they call in a commercial cleanup company. They are very conscious of a spill into surface water, like on a bridge! If the spill is big enough there may be EPA forms that need filled out.
 
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HenryK

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As a private pilot I was struck by the fact that there was no fuel fire, either upon landing or the train strike. That makes me wonder if the pilot took off with nearly empty tanks and just ran out of gas.
 

UserNameRequired

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As a private pilot I was struck by the fact that there was no fuel fire, either upon landing or the train strike. That makes me wonder if the pilot took off with nearly empty tanks and just ran out of gas.
Yes, I wondered that too, but when I look at the body cam footage, I can clearly see liquid draining out of the damaged pilot side wing, the wing is bent down and back a little, and there is liquid pouring out on the pavement/tracks. On the copilot side there is a larger puddle making it’s way across the pavement. The copilot side wing has less apparent damage. Maybe it got misfueled with less apt to catch fire jet-a?
 
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As a private pilot I was struck by the fact that there was no fuel fire, either upon landing or the train strike. That makes me wonder if the pilot took off with nearly empty tanks and just ran out of gas.
Seems like he did a commendable job trying to perform a dead stick landing after takeoff. Probably contributed to lack of fire too.

He didn’t file a flight plan; it was a nice day. All that contributed to his eventual survival.
 

VentureForth

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the tower may not have had a clue as to were plane crashed , if it was on radar they would only know were it disappeared from screen .
for crossings there is no general emergency number only the number on ENS sign and ID posted is relevant. even a road name is not relevant as road name a railroad uses is not always same as official name and sometimes a road crosses tracks multiple times so which crossing is it .
According to the video below, the pilot declared "Mayday Mayday Mayday - Railroad Track"

Cessna #N8056L crashes on Railroad Tracks | Pilot rescued seconds before train comes! - YouTube

I actually rode just past this site on Metrolink's AV line on Sunday. Really nothing to report from my ride - I couldn't see if the blue signs were still up on the crossing lights.

Tragically, residents are calling for the closure of Whiteman airport. Just another NIMBY protest.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Tragically, residents are calling for the closure of Whiteman airport. Just another NIMBY protest.
Nearby residents without private supercar-priced aircraft have suffered crashes, fires, and related disruptions in the last few years and are now looking at replacing an airport that caters to wealthy joyriders with more jobs and services for the community that actually lives there. That seems like a reasonable goal to me.

snapshot-4-1.jpg
 
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VentureForth

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Residents have suffered multiple crashes, fires, and related disruptions/cleanup in the last few years but if they want to close an airport that caters to joyrides in supercar-priced personal aircraft you consider that to be the tragedy?
Yes. You don't think there is an economy that is dependent on the airport? 16 accidents in 13 years. Only two fatalities that I can find quickly. I'm sure there were many more tragedies on the 5 in the last month. Let's shut it down. Or heck, even Metrolink has had more fatalities in that time frame. I KNOW many residents would love to see it shut down.

The idea that trained individuals are joyriding in expensive toys is irresponsible. Flight training is used far beyond recreational pleasure. I know many small business owners who relied on their private pilot license to increase productivity. Meanwhile, plenty of people are using unmonitored public freeways for their real joy rides in their real expensive cars threatening the public. I've only been in CA for 8 days, but the illegal street racing here is out of control.

On another note, Metrolink smashing into a Cessna will produce a LOT less damage to the train (so long as the fuel doesn't explode) than hitting a car. You're talking 1500 lbs of aluminum vs 4000 lbs+ of steel.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Yes. You don't think there is an economy that is dependent on the airport? 16 accidents in 13 years. Only two fatalities that I can find quickly. I'm sure there were many more tragedies on the 5 in the last month. Let's shut it down. Or heck, even Metrolink has had more fatalities in that time frame. I KNOW many residents would love to see it shut down.
Nearly every nearby resident uses roads while very few use private aircraft and if jobs are the focus then I would imagine you can generate a lot more of them by replacing a general aviation airport with other businesses.

The idea that trained individuals are joyriding in expensive toys is irresponsible. Flight training is used far beyond recreational pleasure. I know many small business owners who relied on their private pilot license to increase productivity.
The claim that private aircraft are used as expensive toys is irresponsible because you know some business owners who used their aircraft for "productivity?" This does not sound like a compelling counterargument to me.

Meanwhile, plenty of people are using unmonitored public freeways for their real joy rides in their real expensive cars threatening the public. I've only been in CA for 8 days, but the illegal street racing here is out of control.
I agree and fully support all crackdowns on street racing. I'd even support banning every mind-numbing Fast and Furious movie and locking up anyone associated therewith. :cool:
 
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Given the rigor with which they test pilots (I’m just about to test for my next rating; I speak from experience), the term joy ride is a misnomer. Furthermore, flight training is a crucial and necessary part of of our society. To reduce it to rich people wanting expensive toys, when in reality, it is the training of a future workforce, is just silly. During Covid lockdown, I seriously considered switching careers to become a pilot for Tradewinds charter company (as music had come to a stand-still). My training in a 172 was useful, and wasn’t just some rich person looking to knock off and have fun.

There are irresponsible and bad pilots, but they are few and far between. The pilot in this incident did an amazing job, and should be commended for his skill.
 
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west point

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The most dangerous pilot a doctor in a Beechcraft. It has been the case many times around here.. Just speculation but many pilot errors are lack of concentration to fly the aircraft. Working out a problem at work when flying is a receipt for disaster. Many times, just a violation not an accident.
 
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Rambling Robert

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I subscribe to VasAviation which post tower conversations at various airports in the world. This event was archived and has about 900 comments!

The air trafffic controller at We horseman AAirport, shortly after the crash, was in contact with a witness flying nearby. I believe she is from civil air patrol. The atc knew the 911 went out and then allowed one aircraft waiting a clearance to takeofff.

The vasaviation archive ends before the lift of the closiure of Whiteman airport

of 900 comments - some are informative and I found it hard to believe that it is very very convoluted to have dispatch stop the train.

iMO the local LAPD should have had direct contact MetroLink - to FULL STOPp m all threats.
 

tgstubbs1

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of 900 comments - some are informative and I found it hard to believe that it is very very convoluted to have dispatch stop the train.

Surely nothing like this could ever happen again. And if it did they could certainly rescue all involved with no loss of life, just like this time.
 

VentureForth

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Nearly every nearby resident uses roads while very few use private aircraft and if jobs are the focus then I would imagine you can generate a lot more of them by replacing a general aviation airport with other businesses.
505 aircraft are based at Whiteman, including several news helicopters. There are over 300 takeoffs and landings daily. All are "General Aviation" which means non-airline use. Half of those operations are by transients - pilots that have come from other places for any reason: business, pleasure, training, etc. In other words. 75 flights (150 take offs and landings) per day are from people that had a reason to go there. That's much more than "a few" and many times more than many airports that have scheduled commercial airline service. Of course, I welcome your counterview as a devil's advocate. :)

Whiteman Airport (WHP) Transport Statistics (airport-data.com)
 
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UserNameRequired

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505 aircraft are based at Whiteman, including several news helicopters. There are over 300 takeoffs and landings daily. All are "General Aviation" which means non-airline use. Half of those operations are by transients - pilots that have come from other places for any reason: business, pleasure, training, etc. In other words. 75 flights (150 take offs and landings) per day are from people that had a reason to go there. That's much more than "a few" and many times more than many airports that have scheduled commercial airline service. Of course, I welcome your counterview as a devil's advocate. :)

Whiteman Airport (WHP) Transport Statistics (airport-data.com)
Barton Heliport is there too, right, headquarters for LA County Fire Department Air Ops. Are firefighters wealthy joyriders?
 

basketmaker

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It is the same as many of my neighbors complaining about train horns and/or long trains blocking crossings as they go through. The question is why did you move into a new area/neighborhood and start whining when those tracks have been in place well over 100 years? I grew up 1900' from one of Miami International Airport's runways before air conditioning in homes was common. Windows open 24/7 and no problems at all! I currently live 2200' from BNSF's Brush-sub and 2.5 miles from Denver International and again no issues. My guess would be that the airport was built many years ago and homes/businesses came later.

Also, a Cessna 172 is far from a $5M-$10M business jet to go "joy-riding" in. Those business jets used by the so-call "elites" are used for business not joy riding at $2K-$4K an hour to operate. Though C-172s are used for business too. The aircraft I've flown in the most was a 172 owned by a professional photographer that was based in Miami and bought the plane new over the phone. My dad taught him to fly. And he expanded his business to 8 locations around the country. He would use the plane to fly to them versus hours driving.
 
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