Cessna crashes onto tracks; struck by Metrolink train

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tgstubbs1

OBS Chief
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start whining when those tracks have been in place well over 100 years?

Good point, but I think trains blow their whistles( horns) a lot more than they used to. I'm not sure if that helps, judging from the number of collisions these days.
 

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Of course, I welcome your counterview as a devil's advocate. :)
My core position on this topic is pretty simple. I think the local residents and taxpayers should be allowed to decide what (if anything) is done with the airport. For airport supporters the solution is obvious. Do as much as you can to prevent arriving and departing aircraft from crashing into the surrounding neighborhoods. The more the airport can show that it is doing to prevent future crashes the stronger the case for keeping it open. If I was a supporter I'd be looking for options to improve safety based on prior crashes and typical GA risks. There is very little information in the preliminary report but a quick check indicates the aircraft was owned and operated by a 70-year old man. In most adults there is a significant cognitive decline starting around age 60 so maybe flying solo from a densely populated airport at age 70+ is a risk factor that can be addressed by means other than closing the airport.
 
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My core position on this topic is pretty simple. I think the local residents and taxpayers should be allowed to decide what (if anything) is done with the airport. For airport supporters the solution is obvious. Do as much as you can to prevent arriving and departing aircraft from crashing into the surrounding neighborhoods. The more the airport can show that it is doing to prevent future crashes the stronger the case for keeping it open. If I was a supporter I'd be looking for options to improve safety based on prior crashes and typical GA risks. There is very little information in the preliminary report but a quick check indicates the aircraft was owned and operated by a 70-year old man. In most adults there is a significant cognitive decline starting around age 60 so maybe flying solo from a densely populated airport at age 70+ is a risk factor that can be addressed by means other than closing the airport.

There are far too many factors at play to here to make any assumptions of incompetence based on age. Suggesting that airports should discriminate based on age won’t improve incident rates (instead, the medical should be a harder to pass) unless there is widespread rollout of such a rule; in fact there have been moves to increase the retiring age from 60-65 for airlines in order to address the pilot shortage. It is more or less what already exists around the world.

Many 70 year olds are more than competent pilots, and so far, evidence points towards this pilot actually performing well in the situation at hand and not making any mistakes (though if a report comes along that says otherwise, of course, share). Indeed I doubt if I could have handled the situation any better, other my body being my a little stronger due to being 28.

Losing power on takeoff is incredibly rare and extremely dangerous, and he performed admirably. If he did miss something (and that’s not a guarantee) it may have been in the preflight, but I’d consider that dubious.
 
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There are far too many factors at play to here to make any assumptions of incompetence based on age. Suggesting that airports should discriminate based on age won’t improve incident rates (instead, the medical should be a harder to pass) unless there is widespread rollout of such a rule; in fact there have been moves to increase the retiring age from 60-65 for airlines in order to address the pilot shortage. It is more or less what already exists around the world.
I realize many countries allow commercial pilots to fly until they die but I would not want to replicate that standard here. From what I've seen knowing you're too old to be safe is a bit like knowing you're too impaired to drive home.

Losing power on takeoff is incredibly rare and extremely dangerous, and he performed admirably. If he did miss something (and that’s not a guarantee) it may have been in the preflight, but I’d consider that dubious.
Unfortunately losing aircraft into the surrounding neighborhoods is not rare enough for this particular airport. Maybe this will eventually blow over but the more crashes they suffer the more leverage they forfeit to their detractors.
 
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PeeweeTM

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Sorry, some late add-ons about the train side, slightly related/as reference:
  1. Braking distance for a single German BR203 locomotive out of full power at about 60 mph is about 2350 ft. Cast iron brake shoes, no other active brakes. Passenger trains over here would stop in a shorter distance out of this starting speed, because they have electro-magnetic brakes which glue the train on the tracks.
  2. ERA (my tax Euros at work) has some information about braking curves, scroll a bit downwards on this ERA-site, if you feel nerdy today. It even has a braking curve simulator. The PDF "Introduction to ETCS braking curves" ... err ... gives a good intoduction to braking curves.
  3. If I push the alarm button on my GSM-R train radio, all engineers in my radio cell and in the neighbouring cells hear an annoying sound. They will slow down their train's speed to below 25 mph and start running prepared to stop for anything. Off course, passing pilots would not hear this and just maintain speed, altitude and heading. Or so I hope.
 

VentureForth

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In another news rerport, an officer did state they attempted to contact Metrolink to stop all trains. The police station was only a couple blocks from the crash site.
That, to me, sounds very irresponsible. The cop shop is literally a block away. Why would they ask Metrolink to stop ALL trains? They should have a pretty good understanding that only the Antelope Valley line is affected on that stretch of track. That, if accurately happened as reported, could have created much more confusion.

Losing power on takeoff is incredibly rare and extremely dangerous, and he performed admirably. If he did miss something (and that’s not a guarantee) it may have been in the preflight, but I’d consider that dubious.
I've had a near engine failure on takeoff. Engine sputtered after takeoff after I already flew the pattern once. Turned out that moisture in the tanks from condensation wasn't in the fuel lines when I sumped the tanks, and the action of turning in the pattern sploshed the fuel around enough to bring down the water. Fortunately, I never lost all power, and was able to make a 180 back to the runway.

That being said, I doubt there's that much moisture in the air in all of LA county to have been the cause here. It'll be interesting to see what the reports say.

PDF of the preliminary report is here: https://data.ntsb.gov/carol-repgen/api/Aviation/ReportMain/GenerateNewestReport/104510/pdf but it doesn't really have any information in it we don't already know (except that a Southbound train apparently was travelling North).
 
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west point

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On a cross country flight stopped at a very remote airport to fuel. First clue old farmer type fueled with a cigar burning. We ran away from aircraft. Second clue. We went to get something eat. fortunately, did sump the wings and found some moisture. That was a big lesson learned. Internationally some fuel trucks have a sump which a pilot will check before fuel pumped in. Hydrant fueling there is another procedure I used never leaving after fuel complete,
 

Cal

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That, to me, sounds very irresponsible. The cop shop is literally a block away. Why would they ask Metrolink to stop ALL trains? They should have a pretty good understanding that only the Antelope Valley line is affected on that stretch of track. That, if accurately happened as reported, could have created much more confusion.
From my understanding they meant all trains on those tracks, seems the most obvious and what I think most people's minds would jump to.
 

WWW

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From my understanding they meant all trains on those tracks, seems the most obvious and what I think most people's minds would jump to.
That certainly make sense - stop ALL trains i.e. EB CZ SL etc.
I would bet that Monday morning quarterbacking that that local police station now has direct communication with Amtrak and is aware or
more aware of the train schedule.
Fortunately minimal damage to ground structures -
One dinged locomotive -
One Cessna going to the recycle metal factory -
and best of all the Pilot survived to tell what happened
 
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That certainly make sense - stop ALL trains i.e. EB CZ SL etc.
I would bet that Monday morning quarterbacking that that local police station now has direct communication with Amtrak and is aware or
more aware of the train schedule.
Fortunately minimal damage to ground structures -
One dinged locomotive -
One Cessna going to the recycle metal factory -
and best of all the Pilot survived to tell what happened

Like you say, a lot of lucky people get to go home.
 
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We don't know exactly what did or did not happen regarding notifying Metrolink about this incident and their response.
A post by Metrolink this morning prompted me to ask a general question (not specifically regarding this incident).

Metrolink posted: Emergency Notification System (ENS) signs are blue and white and provide contact information so drivers and pedestrians can notify the railroad of safety concerns. If your vehicle ever stalls on tracks, immediately evacuate your car and call the number on the sign.
I commented: When someone calls, who actually answers the phone?
Metrolink replied: We have representatives stationed 24/7 to assist with these types of emergencies.

I would like to think that a phone call to their number goes directly to the Metrolink dispatch center in Pomona, CA.
 

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I would like to think that a phone call to their number goes directly to the Metrolink dispatch center in Pomona, CA.
The number posted at crossings near my home went to highway patrol. Maybe the dispatcher was busy and it rolled over to the next in line. Maybe it used to be staffed by UP before the position was retired. I was reporting a bent and broken crossing system so not super urgent but they did not seem to know what to do with my information. After seeing several discussions here on the forum I've been tempted to call it again and see who answers this time.
 
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