Once again the neighbors of the Santa Monica Airport escaped major tragedy. We are lucky that the pilot was skilled/lucky enough to avoid killing or seriously injuring innocent bystanders. He was not skilled/lucky enough to avoid serious injury to himself or his passengers. The fact is painfully obvious that without the skill/luck the accident could have been many times worse.
Some questions need to be addressed in this light:
Why is the airport still open? This area is much too congested for safe airport operations.
How much liability insurance is required to take off from Santa Monica? A million-dollar policy would not adequately compensate the surviving family members if the crash had just a little less skill/luck. Perhaps $2 million as minimum liability coverage is a realistic number. Any lower limit is an insult to us all.
Is there any enforcement of insurance requirements? A pilot who flies in just for the day can kill just as many innocent residents as a local plane. Someone should be monitoring the take-off queue for proof of insurance. Violators should remain grounded (first offense) until they comply.
Why are airplanes not equipped with a loud (120 decibels) "crash imminent" alarm? In spite of numerous noise complaints and suits, everyone near a falling aircraft would welcome as much warning as they can get. A distinctive alarm (which cannot be mistaken for a car burglar alarm) would give bystanders a better chance to get out of the way. Such equipment should be required on planes that wish to take off from Santa Monica.
If Santa Monica becomes the selling agent for insurance and approved crash alarms, the revenues from the airport could become even larger than that raised by their overworked meter maids.
RICHARD L. WILLIAMS