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Tue, Nov 28, 2006

Second Accident Near KVGT In Three Days Raises Eyebrows

No One Injured In Forced Landings

Two close calls in three days near the North Las Vegas airport have caught the interest of city officials, and the FAA.

The pilot of a Cessna 414 made a forced landing Sunday afternoon on a city street near the airport. The plane -- which was heading for North Las Vegas from San Luis Obispo, CA -- hit three power poles, but all three persons onboard the twin escaped injury.

No one on the ground was hurt. The plane caught fire shortly after the crash, but the flames were quickly put out by firefighters responding to the scene.

"Not something you'd expect on a Sunday afternoon; I was just glad they missed our houses. This pilot must have been very good, because he was able to glide it down a little bit, and miss all the houses," said resident Barbara Dunkley to television station KVBC-3.

Two days before, another aircraft flying to Las Vegas made a forced landing about one mile from the runway at KVGT. The FAA states the pilot of the Cessna 210 had declared a fuel emergency prior to the Friday accident. None of the six persons onboard were seriously hurt.

That both accidents occurred within a three-day period may be nothing more than lousy timing. City officials, however, say the North Las Vegas Airport has connections to a series of general aviation accidents, include an April 2003 crash of a Cessna 172 in a practice area near a local high school. That accident claimed the lives of a student pilot, and the FAA examiner administering a private pilot checkride. 

A week before that accident, one pilot was injured when his Beechcraft V35 Bonanza crashed after takeoff, in another apparent fuel-starvation incident.

The FAA and NTSB are on the scene to investigate the two latest accidents, which like all the others happened off of KVGT airport property.

The North Las Vegas airport has attracted the FAA's attention before, however. The agency named KVGT the second-worst airport for runway incursions in a 2003 study. Los Angeles International was ranked number one.

FMI: Read The FAA Preliminary Reports

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