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Fri, Feb 22, 2008

Florida Woman Says Airplane Part Hit Home

Second Time That's Happened In Nine Years

What fell through Margaret Bagley's roof? Thanks to the Internet, she's pretty sure she knows the answer... but the FAA still wants to know for sure.

According to the Palm Beach (FL) Post, a small metal ball crashed through the roof of Bagley's home last week, coming to rest on the floor of the West Palm Beach resident's garage.

Bagley found the metal object, which resembled the ball of a trailer hitch, when she went to do laundry February 13. Looking up, she discovered a softball-sized hole in her roof.

Finding a part number on the object, Bagley did a Google search and discovered it was the jack pad off an airliner. Bagley's home is under the flight path to Palm Beach International Airport (PBI).

Bagley called the FAA, and a flight standards official took the part Wednesday for further analysis. "They are going to see if there are any markings on it," Bagley said.

The NIMBY contingent around PBI immediately picked up the ball, as it were, and ran with it -- calling the incident an example of the danger posed to residents living near the airport.

"The airport is talking about expansion, but they are not talking about safety," said Jose Rodriguez, president of the Vedado neighborhood. "Who is doing inspections of these planes? You let these planes up with a part that is missing. That is a safety issue."

Incidentally, Bagley says this wasn't the first time an airplane part has fallen on her property.

A 1999 incident, in which the engine of a Continental Airlines 737-300 suffered uncontained turbine failure on takeoff, rained down hundreds of parts on a five-block area... and dumped an 18-inch-long metal object on her husband's truck.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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