A light plane crashed into a townhouse in Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday morning, killing at least one of the plane’s occupants. A second person on the plane remains unaccounted for, according to DeKalb County Fire Captain Dion Bentley. Foggy conditions in the area may have contributed to the crash.
After taking off from DeKalb-Peachtree airport in the northeast of Atlanta at around 10:30 a.m., the single-engine Piper PA-28 crashed on Oakawana Drive approximately one mile away, according to a tweet from the Federal Aviation Administration.
— The FAA (@FAANews) October 30, 2019
According to Bentley, the plane crashed into a 5-unit townhouse, and rescue personnel were finding it difficult to access the wreckage. Fortunately, no one was home at the time of the accident, and there were no injuries apparent on the ground. However, extensive damage was caused to the front and roof of the house.
Only one car was parked close to the townhouse.
The Piper PA-28 is a single-engine plane available in either a 2-seat or 4-seat model. More than two dozen variants of the PA-28 have been made, and it is commonly used in aviation training around the world.
DeKalb Peachtree Airport is the second-largest in the Atlanta region after Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport — the busiest airport in the world with over 107 million passengers annually. De-Kalb-Peachtree is seen as a ‘reliever airport’, alleviating flight congestion for its larger neighbor.
According to an FAA factsheet, “The United States has the largest and most diverse GA [General Aviation] community in the world, with more than 220,000 active aircraft, including amateur-built aircraft, rotorcraft, balloons, and highly sophisticated turbojets.”
The FAA has a goal to reduce the rate of fatal accidents in general aviation. Despite these efforts, 347 people died in 209 GA fatal accidents in fiscal year 2017, with inflight loss of control (LOC)—mainly stalls—accounting for the largest number of GA fatal accidents.
According to the FAA, “An LOC accident involves an unintended departure of an aircraft from controlled flight. LOC can happen because the aircraft enters a flight regime that is outside its normal flight envelope and may quickly develop into a stall or spin. It can introduce an element of surprise for the pilot. LOC happens in all phases of flight. It can happen anywhere and at any time. There is one fatal accident involving LOC every four days.”
Furthermore, the FAA states that “Most weather-related GA accidents are fatal, and a failure to recognize deteriorating weather continues to be a frequent cause or contributing factor of accidents.”