Fly, Forrest, Fly

November 15, 2009
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An aerial of Brackett Field

An aerial of Brackett Field

On Saturday, Nov. 14, it was learned that a single-engine plane that had taken off from Brackett Field in La Verne and was headed to Van Nuys crashed in the 5100 block of Walnut Grove Avenue in Los Angeles County, killing the pilot. The victim’s name has not yet been released. There were no reports of injuries to anyone on the ground as the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board begin investigating the cause of the crash.

On March 14, a single-engine 1979 Piper Cherokee PA-28 N129AB that departed La Verne’s Bracket Field en route to Rosamond crashed shortly after takeoff in Pomona, killing Charles and Renee Shaffer of La Verne.

It is considerably more risky to fly in small versus larger commercial airplanes. According to the FAA’s August 2005 Factbook, there were 2,339 small aircraft accidents in 2004-2005 and only 39 accidents involving large airliners.

Also, indelibly imprinted in the public’s mind are the more famous deaths associated with private plane crashes, including John F. Kennedy, Jr., Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Denver, Randy Rhoads, Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly, “The Big Bopper.”

Regardless, people will continue to climb among the clouds whatever the odds or mortal statistics, a human compulsion set free by Orville and Wilbur’s first historic flight on Dec. 17, 1903.

Click on the short video link below for this brief flight over La Verne. It will lift your spirits and show you that those who died pursuing their passion did not leave this earth in vain.


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