A Deadly Week In Texas Skies

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When two people died in the crash of a Piper PA-32 in the Texas Hill Country on Saturday night, they were the 19th and 20th Texans to die in small-aircraft crashes in just a week. That's likely a coincidence, Jim Burnett, former NTSB chairman, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. But the hot weather could be a factor, he said. "I would say there is a risk to all planes when you have 100-degree temperatures," Burnett said. "If you have a plane that's been dinged up a little bit or not performing at top capacity or is heavily loaded, it could be a factor." The string of crashes included a father and son returning from Oshkosh in an RV-4; a family of five from North Texas who crashed on takeoff in Missouri in a Piper PA-32; a twin Aerostar 601P that crashed into a house near Austin shortly after takeoff, killing all six on board; a Mooney M20J that stalled on short final on Wednesday, killing three; and a PA-32 that struck powerlines on Wednesday, killing the pilot and passenger.