After The Midair At Corona

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A Mayoral Task Force on Aviation Safety, composed mostly of local pilots, noted last week that changes to non-towered Corona Airport (Calif.), which in January suffered a fatal midair, would likely do more "to improve public relations" than to alter current procedures, according to a local news report at PE.com. The crash, which killed two pilots, two passengers and a person on the ground who was struck by falling debris, is cited by the article as the city's third fatal midair in a decade. One task force member (also a city council member) vented his frustration at the apparent inaction following the accident, describing the airport traffic pattern as a "free-for-all" that pits landing aircraft against aircraft flying in from the coast through the Santa Ana Canyon. But the task force has decided not to suggest changes in routes or procedures but instead promote a series of outreach efforts in the form of fliers, signs, publications, radio communications and a city-hosted aviation safety seminar to further educate pilots about Corona's operating environment.

It has also suggested the city request an FAA study, but pilots on the panel "predicted that the FAA would conclude the airport does not need an air traffic control tower." Closing a meeting on the issue, task fore chairman Richard O. Haley assured local pilots that the airport is considered an asset to the city and that its pilots "are, quite frankly, very, very safe and we thank them."