A plane departing from San Gabriel Valley Airport crashed into the side of a canyon near Morongo on Tuesday night killing the pilot. Officials are still investigating the cause of the crash.
After a series of plane crashes in the past few weeks, some are begging the question, what are the standards for pilots and the planes they’re flying?
“It takes a minimum of forty hours. Twenty hours of flight training, twenty hours of solo,” Gary Middleton, an pilot of 46 years said. “Most people spend sixty to seventy hours to do it and then you have to get a flight physical in most cases.”
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, accidents and fatalities increased from 2015 to 2016. The board hasn’t updated its statistics for the past two years.
“Over the years it has morphed,” Middleton said. “It changes but that’s been the basic qualifications for quite some time, thirty to forty years.”
A basic requirement being a check ride with an FAA inspector or a designated pilot examiner.
“There are requirements for them that they have to check and the student, of course, has to meet a certain standard,” he said.
Plus, the plane has standards of its own. Each aircraft must have an annual inspection every twelve months by an authorized inspector.
“It doesn’t mean that everybody does all the time, but that’s what’s required,” he said.
Middleton also said most airports have free reign, meaning they do not have control towers.
“You come and go as you please,” he said.
The cause of both crashes are still unknown but Middleton said from his experience, they could be attributed to poor maintenance standards or lack of skill on the pilot’s end. Regardless, he said plane crashes are rare.
The FAA and NTSB said the investigations could take more than a year.