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Tue, Dec 21, 2004

Pilots: KFI Tower Was 'Accident Waiting To Happen'

Aviators Say Tower Lighting Was Inadequate

Southern California pilots say the KFI radio tower near Fullerton was an accident waiting to happen. That accident indeed happened on Sunday, when a Cessna 182 collided with the tower, killing both occupants, destroying the aircraft and bringing down the 820-foot (MSL) tall structure.

"[It's] incredulous that we have a situation like this," Al Pregler, a retired UAL pilot, told KCAL Television in Los Angeles Sunday. "[It was an] accident looking for a place to happen and it happens every so many years, and it just so happens it happened this morning."

Pregler, a member of the Fullerton Airport Pilots Association, was part of a letter-writing campaigned aimed at getting KFI to put strobe lights on the tower. That never happened, according to the Whittier Daily News.

"People who are strangers don't even know it is here until all of a sudden it pops up in their face. With a case of luck, fate, whatever you want to call it, they usually miss it," pilot Richard Fields told KCAL.

Pilot Richard Fields also wrote a letter. "[On a] particularly clear day... when you are looking down, the tower gets lost in all the colors and patterns that are on the ground - ground clutter, you can't see it. It is very difficult to see, even if you know where it is," he told the TV station.

FMI: www.kfi640.com

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