Duke down at Newcastle Airport

Businessman dead as plane crashes at New Castle Airport

Looking at the video there is surprisingly little left after the fire.

The discussion thread attached to the news report raises an interesting question as to why the aircraft was allowed to take off in “high” winds. One of the posts in that thread states that the wind was blowing at 40 mph. That does not seem out of line for an experienced proficient pilot flying the type of aircraft involved in this accident.

That said, would a light aircraft be refused a take-off clearance at a controlled field if the tower thinks the wind is unsafe? I’ve never heard of that happening.

Nope, just like it’s perfectly legal for a non commercial op GA plane to take off with zero visibility and zero ceilings even if the tower can’t see him.

Smart? Nope!


I’ve heard that before! :stuck_out_tongue:

The following link is to another Duke crash at an airport I worked at a few years ago. Crash was very close to this one. Same discriptions from witnesses on the path of the airplane. Only difference in ours is that it ended up crashing into the commercial terminal.


Contrary to popular belief ACT has absolutely no authority to stop a POC from performing any operation.

ATC can only hold an aircraft for traffic purposes. Good point: TRWs along route of flight and too many aircraft for controller to handle as aircraft work their away around WX. I"ve worked aircarriers that have requested takeoff clearances with a TRW+ overhead the airport. There were not any applicable traffic management stops or conflicting traffic at the time of the request and all I could do was give him the wind (and current WX for CYA) and launch him. But for the grace of God…

Flow control restrictions for destination airports (acceptance rates) or enroute center sectors are a function of the safe, orderly and expedicious charge that goes with the job.

ATC cannot close a runway or an airport. That responsibility is strictly the airport operators call. ATC is responsible to inform the operator and pilots of KNOWN conditions but that is all that legally can be done. Conversely it is ATCs job to relay to the pilot known airport conditions as reported to ATC during rapidly changing conditions either by the ATIS or direct radio contact.

The safe operation of the aircraft belongs only to the POC. Every pilot that I have talked to agrees that if I stay out of the cockpit he/she will stay out of my tower.

If a pilot wishes to depart with a 40 wind and there are no airport or traffic management initiatives in place the only course of action left to the controller is to use his most skeptical voice tone give him the wind and clear him for take-off.

Having one hand on the crash phone is also a good idea.