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Student Pilot Lands Plane on Quiet Street

July 16, 1996|LISA LEFF | TIMES STAFF WRITER

PACOIMA — A single-engine airplane flown by a student pilot and his flight instructor made an emergency landing on a residential street Monday night, barreling into a parked car and losing its left wing before skidding to a stop in a front yard, officials said.

As stunned neighbors ran into the street to check the commotion, the plane's two occupants emerged shaken but unharmed from the Belanca Scout aircraft, which had been preparing to land at nearby Whiteman Airport when its engine failed at about 7:25 p.m., police said.

"I thought it was an earthquake or a big accident," said Celia Tovar Palos, who lives five houses from where the plane landed in the 13300 block of Desmond Street. "I couldn't believe it when I saw what it was."

The plane's unidentified student pilot was taken to Holy Cross Medical Center in Woodland Hills complaining of chest pains, but his condition was not considered life-threatening, said Brian Humphrey, a Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman.

Although the home where the plane came to rest lost only a few roof tiles from the impact, both a small parked car and the plane itself were heavily damaged, Humphrey and witnesses said. One wing of the aircraft was sheared off.

Neighbors immediately doused the plane with water from garden hoses, and no flames appeared, said Victor Palos, 14.

Hector Yanez, 8, said he was outside playing hide and seek with his uncle when he saw the plane making its unsteady approach to his narrow, nearly empty street. "I thought it was going to go away," he said.

Instead, the plane kept coming and Hector managed to scramble inside the family house before the craft landed next door.

Police said the airplane was either owned or operated by Red Baron Aviation of Pacoima.

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