FAA: Advice followed

The Federal Aviation Administration, for the most part, is already following the recommendations of a 35-page Clark County Aviation Department report released Monday on crashes involving experimental and other aircraft at North Las Vegas Airport, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.

Of the 43 accidents over a 10-year span that resulted in 14 fatalities, 75 percent of the accidents were caused by pilot error.

The report, prepared by a stakeholders' group, was called for by state lawmakers to improve flight safety standards after two fatal crashes involving aircraft that hit homes near the airport.

"The report's recommendations are common-sense approaches to safety, and we are already doing most of the things that are addressed in the recommendations and that are within our control," Gregor said in an e-mail. His comments came as the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were looking into a crash Friday involving an experimental, single-engine Dragon Fly Mark II that was forced to land on Rancho Drive, less than a mile from the airport.

The plane suffered substantial damage. The pilot, whose name still had not been released Monday, was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries. The plane's lone passenger, who was not injured, also was not identified.

Gregor said the only recommendation contained in the aviation department report that the FAA isn't following out of nine that pertain to it is one that calls for an annual report on enforcement actions against pilots locally.

"The FAA takes immediate action when we learn about possible regulations violations. However, it is important to remember that pilots accused of violations are entitled to due process," he said.

Gregor noted that the FAA banned first-phase flights of experimental aircraft out of North Las Vegas Airport in December. Experimental, or home-built, aircraft are banned from the airport until they have successfully completed the first phase of flight time, which is either 25 hours or 40 hours depending on the engine configuration.

"We will thoroughly review the report and consider any of the recommendations that are within our purview and that we do not currently have implemented," he said.

State Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, and Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, issued a statement Monday calling for affected agencies to heed the report's recommendations. "We urge local and federal officials to follow up on these recommendations and implement those that ensure a safer operation of the airport and protect North Las Vegas and Las Vegas neighborhoods," their statement reads.

The report noted that the county's Department of Aviation doesn't have jurisdiction to regulate aviation safety, which is the FAA's responsibility.

Contact reporter Keith Rogers at krogers@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0308.