Thu, Oct 28, 2010
And It Was Clearly Marked With A Large, Yellow "X"
Workers performing maintenance on
the main runway at Port Isabel-Cameron County Airport
(KPIL) in TX got a bit of a surprise last week when an
airplane landed on there. The pilot was U.S. Senator James Inhofe
The runway was clearly marked as being closed, and a NOTAM had
been issued for the maintenance work. But Inhofe said he "didn't
have a NOTAM" when asked about the incident.
Inhofe told the Washington Post that he was traveling
to his property on South Padre Island, which he has done for the
past 50 years. He said he noticed the runway closure markings as he
was preparing to land, so he flew the Cessna 340 with two other
people on board over the maintenance workers and touched down "well
off the the side."
Inhofe said he called the FAA after he landed, and was told that
since there was no accident, there was "no significant problem."
Departing from Port Isabel, Inhofe chose to take off from a taxiway
rather than use the closed runway, or one of the airports available
runways. Inhofe told the paper "I really didn't have a choice."
Given the size and weight of the airplane, h e said, the taxiway
was a safer, better option. He said he informed airport officials
of his intention to make a taxiway departure.
While the FAA can suspend a pilots' flying priveleges for either
landing on a closed runway or departing from a taxiway, the
infractions are often not enforced. Pilots are allowed to file a
voluntary report on those incidents, and that is where it generally
stops. The Tulsa World reports that the FAA confirmed
it is looking into the incident to see if further action is
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