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Pilot's Truck-Top Stunts on Highway Lead to Crash

March 24, 1985

The pilot of a light plane, who highway patrolmen said was practicing "touch-and-go" landings on the tops of moving tractor-trailer trucks on Interstate 10 just west of Palm Springs, caught the landing gear of his plane in power lines and crashed on the highway Saturday.

The pilot, identified as Solayman Siraj of Los Angeles, was in fair condition at Desert Hospital in Palm Springs with neck, back and possible internal injuries, a hospital spokesman said.

California highway patrolmen said Siraj attempted three touch-and-go landings on the tops of three westbound trucks, then tried three more on a single eastbound truck.

Touch-and-go landings, a common skill-building practice for pilots, involve landing the plane and taking off again before it comes to a halt. They are commonly done on runways.

Siraj apparently failed to notice that running across the highway were power lines, which caught his landing gear and sent the plane crashing into the median strip, witnesses told officers.

In the plane, officers said, they found written instructions on how to make touch-and-go landings.

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