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Pilot Injured In Accident Files Lawsuit

Planes Collided On A Runway Last March At Compton/Woodley Airport In California

The pilot of an airplane that was struck while on a runway at Compton/Woodley Airport (KCPM) in Compton, CA has sued the pilot of the T-28 that collided with his Cessna during a training flight. The student pilot on board the Cessna was fatally injured, and Ryan Davis, the pilot and instructor, was severely injured and spent several weeks in a coma.

According to the NTSB's preliminary report from the accident, the T-28 was operated by Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum and the Cessna was operated by the Long Beach Flying Club. Both airplanes were being operated under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as personal flights. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for either flight. The Cessna departed for a local instructional flight from the Long Beach Airport, Long Beach, California at an unknown time. The T-28 departed for a local personal flight from Whiteman Airport, Los Angeles, California about 1830 with a planned destination of Compton.

There were multiple video recordings that captured the accident. A review of the footage revealed that the Cessna touched down and continued on the landing roll out. The T-28 crossed over the runway threshold bar about 10 seconds after the Cessna and subsequently touched down. On the landing roll, adjacent to the "1/2" sign (indicates half of the runway remains), the T-28 impacted the Cessna resulting in an explosion.

The T-28 pilot stated that as he turned the airplane left from the base leg to final approach in the traffic pattern for runway 25L, he noticed a layer of haze on the horizon. The bright sun and the haze created a glare on the windscreen that obscured his forward vision making it difficult for him to see directly ahead. As he descended toward the runway, the glare became worse and he realized he was in between runway 25L and 25R. He side-stepped to runway 25L and the airplane touched down on the runway surface. Several seconds later, the pilot observed the Cessna on the runway ahead of him. He felt the impact with the other airplane and resulting explosion immediately thereafter. The T-28 continued about 1,000 ft before coming to rest off the right side of 25L.

Television station KNBC reports that, according to Davis, the 84-year-old pilot of the T-28 did not check to see if there was traffic on the runway, and did not notify other aircraft he was landing. According to a report from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the T-28 pilot, identified as Ross Diehl, said he had not notified other aircraft in the area he was landing "because the radio is so low on the panel and the small numbers are difficult for him to read …" Diehl has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and careless and reckless operation of aircraft.

KCPM is an uncontrolled airport. Davis is seeking unspecified damages in the suit.

(Image from file. Not accident aircraft)

FMI: Source report
NTSB Preliminary Report 

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