Pilot Error, Road Placement Cited In PA-28/SUV Collision

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The NTSB says the pilot of Piper PA-28 Warrior misjudged his approach to a private airport in Georgetown, Del., on July 26, 2005, but it also suggests the consequences would have been far less grave had a road that passed perpendicular to the threshold been in compliance with FAA standards. The pilot of the Piper said his sink rate was faster than he expected on the approach, so he added power and retracted some flap. It was noted in the report that retracting flap in that flight condition would increase the sink rate. At any rate, as he did so an SUV occupied by a man and his 14-year-old daughter crossed from the left and the aircraft hit the vehicle, killing its occupants. The pilot and his two passengers survived, and the pilot later told investigators he thought he would clear the vehicle, which was on a public road less than 18 feet from the beginning of the runway. The NTSB says the FAA would normally require at least 300 feet between a road and the end of a runway.