What Happens In Vegas
Hopefully Stays in Vegas
The "traditional media" in Las Vegas has delivered yet another example of shock aviation journalism following the horrific crash of a Velocity 173RG that killed two occupants of the plane and one person on the ground.
A local Vegas TV station turned one of their "investigative reporters" loose on the story, and the result is classic:
"The plane in Friday's tragedy can be ordered over the Internet in a do-it-yourself kit. It runs about $30,000. Last year, experimental homebuilt planes accounted for more than 12-percent of plane accidents nationwide. They are a $30,000 do-it-yourself dream -- sleek planes built from the ground up in garages and backyards."Yes, any Goober with a computer and thirty large can order up one of them homebuilt contraptions and duct tape the damned thing together in his backyard...at least that's what the reporter wants you to believe. Read that at face value and anyone not knowledgeable with the EAA and experimental aircraft could think these are cobbed-up junk slapped together by amateurs.
This is some of the worst reporting on aviation I have seen in a while. What makes this report so off the mark is that in the very same story, the same reporter blows his whole "ordered off the Internet and built in the backyard so they must be crap" argument right out of the water:
"Even though they are built by hobbyists, the planes have to be physically checked by the FAA or certified inspectors before the first flight and every year after that. Yes, it was built by an individual and not on a production line, but it is built to FAA standards."So wait, let's break this down shall we? A certified production aircraft comes off a production line and is inspected by the FAA and deemed airworthy. A similar experimental aircraft is built in some dude's basement, but STILL INSPECTED BY THE FAA and deemed airworthy. But because some reporter is claiming these "Internet phenomenons" are somehow unsafe, he has whipped up such a fever that now the county aviation brass responsible for North Las Vegas Airport are claiming the sky is falling and it's all the fault of experimental aircraft. Here is a look at that development to this story, from ANN:
"Following the tragic fatal crash of a Velocity 173RG in Las Vegas, NV, a local official from the Clark County Aviation Authority is grabbing some headlines. The Aviation Director, Randy Walker is apparently calling for the banishment of experimental aircraft from the North Las Vegas Airport. Despite the fact that there is a long history of problems revolving around Las Vegas Airports, for a number of reasons, Walker is reacting to the one accident that occurred this week as the specific reason to forbid the flying of experimental-amateur built aircraft from "busier" airports."Man, this just stinks in so many ways on so many levels. It makes me wonder just HOW the HELL all those "Internet phenomenons" managed to arrive at Oshkosh this summer without killing massive amounts of innocents on the ground. You would think that some of that BAILING WIRE would have came loose sending flaming homebuilts into the Wisconsin countryside.
Back in the days when I was a reporter, we had these growling people looking over our shoulders called EDITORS that fact checked a story before releasing it for printing. Had this story been looked over by a actual editor, the fact that this Velocity that crashed was inspected by the FAA same as a production aircraft could not have been overlooked. That fact would have killed this story, and the flames of discontent that have now caused a call for a ban on experimentals at VGT would never have been fanned.