There was an accident last week involving a flying club PA28 aircraft that apparently slipped off the runway after heavy rains and collided with a tree. The pilot was killed and his three passengers injured. Winds at the time were reported 36012G17 – not sure of the runway alignment.
NTSB is investigating and while there might be some comments about the pilot’s decision to get into such a situation in the first place, that’s a bit premature. It’s more instructive on how web news is changing the perception of everything – GA accidents included. WBIR, the NBC affiliate, had the web writeup with this quote from the president of the flying club:
“Meanwhile, he’s (the president) upset about the impact this crash has on the Oak Ridge Flyers, the club to which Chadwick belonged, and the airport itself.
“Future pilots may think twice about flying or may have spouses that don’t want them to fly because of the accident,” he said, “but I think most of us that are here will stay and continue flying.”
Of equal concern was the nature of commentary by readers regarding the crash. It ranged from the usual blame and defense of the pilot to the idea that grass strips should be paved. Commenting pilots were perhaps more outspoken then the general public. It’s a sobering reminder that everything we, as pilots, do is increasingly in the public eye.