Mon, Nov 01, 2004
They Defend Experimental Aviation In Wake Of Fatal Mishap
Homebuilt aircraft date
back to the very first plane, built by Orville and Wilbur Wright.
That's the word from pilots in Fitchburg (MA), on the heels of a
fatal accident involving a homebuilt Zenith aircraft last week.
Pilot Charles Schwartz was killed when the aircraft plowed into a
machine shop near the airport on Tuesday.
After an article slamming homebuilt aircraft appeared in the
Fitchburg (MA) Sentinel-Enterprise, local pilots were quick to
"The fact is, just because it's home-built doesn't mean it
doesn't have to satisfy standards," Marlborough Airport Manager Bob
Stetson told the paper. "Before it can be flown it has to be
inspected by the FAA... and be signed off as being ready for
AOPA VP Jeff Myers agreed. "The fact of the matter is they
don't weigh much, they don't go very fast. It's pretty hard to get
into trouble in one. Of course, it can happen."
But the Sentinel-Enterprise continued its anti-experimental rant
in Sunday's editorials, saying, "common sense tells you it is only
a matter of time before another plane crashes into a building and
more than just the pilot and passengers are killed....
Unfortunately for everyone who lives and works around the airport
-- and that includes thousands of people -- when a pilot makes an
error he puts everyone around the airport in harm's way."
The editorial went on to say, "It's just one man's opinion, but
I think it's time to close the airport. The risks no longer justify
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