Residents near crash scene describe airspace as the wild west - FOX 10 News |

Area residents near plane crash scene describe airspace as the wild west


Planes from two valley flight schools collided in mid-air Friday, killing four people. As FOX 10 has learned, this isn't the first time planes from the schools have been involved in deadly crashes.

The planes that crashed were from schools based at the Phoenix Deer Valley Airport, which is owned and operated by the City of Phoenix.

Some people living near the crash scene are concerned about what's going on above them -- describing the airspace as the wild west.

The planes landed about a half mile from each other after crashing around 10 a.m.

Two instructors were killed aboard the Piper Archer Three from Transpac Aviation Academy.  Two other people were killed aboard the Cessna from Westwind School of Aeronautics, their relationships have not been released.

The planes landed in the desert about 15 miles north of the Deer Valley Airport, but the crash hit a little too close to home for Chris Morrison who lives near Anthem.

"That could have very easily been over us because they're doing these maneuvers up here every single day and night," he said.

Morrison lives about three miles northwest of the Deer Valley Airport, an area he says is popular with flight school training and an area populated with homes.

"Doing all kinds of maneuvers, just circling around, engine cut offs, then back on," he said.

According to the NTSB accident database, in the last three years, there have been tow fatal Transpac plane crashes that killed a total of four people, including a crash in 2010 that killed a student who overshot the runway and a 2011 crash that killed a flight instructor and two students after the plane hit a rock outcropping at the summit of Bronco Peak.

Since 2000, the NTSB has investigated seven non-fatal incidents involving Westwind planes and one fatal accident that killed a flight instructor and two students when it hit terrain near Wittmann in 2004.

As bad as Friday's crash was, Morrison says it could have been much worse.

"I think they should be moved in to a non-populated area so an accident like that would not happen here in Anthem."

Westwind had no comment about the crash. 

Transpac released a statement:

"I was terribly saddened to learn of the loss of two of our members of the TransPac Aviation Academy family. We extend our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and fellow colleagues of the two instructors that were lost today. The individuals involved were deeply connected here at TransPac and their loss is felt by all of us. The entire extended TransPac community, including our Alumni, is in shock and mourning for the loss of both of the se two good men.  We are not releasing personal information about the individuals at this time out of respect for the families during this time of sadness and grieving.

TransPac officials are in contact with the Federal Aviation Administration, and we are extending our full cooperation to the National Transportation Safety Board for its investigation.  In accordance with NTSB procedures, TransPac can not comment on possible causes of the accident while the investigation is ongoing.

The safety and security of our instructors and students is TransPac's highest priority."

- Stephen Goddard, President and CEO of TransPac Aviation Academy

Related story: 2 small planes collide north of Phoenix; 4 dead

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