2 planes collide on tarmac at Palatka airport
Former Jaguar piloting one of planes involved
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – No one was hurt when two planes collided on the tarmac Friday morning at the Palatka Municipal Airport, authorities said.
The collision occurred shortly before 11 a.m. at the airport on Reid Street.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol report, both planes were descending at the same time when the plane piloted by former Jaguar Robert Meier hit the top rear of the second aircraft.
Putnam County Sheriff Homer "Gator" DeLoach said there were no injuries reported at the scene, but the collision did result in a fuel leak.
Former Jaguars tight end Kyle Brady, who owns a stake in one of the planes involved, said the Palatka airport does not have a control tower, meaning pilots communicate with one another over the radio and use their own senses to avoid crashes.
Cary Green, a pilot who frequently flies out of the airport, said it's always up to the pilots to know when it's safe to land or take off.
"We are talking to one another, but there isn't even a requirement at non-towered airports to have a radio," he said. "You can come in here and there are aircraft that don't have electrical systems, but operate in and out of this place. So you just have to watch for other aircraft."
Green did not wish to speculate about what happened, but said it can be difficult to see other aircraft when piloting a low-wing plane. "You just have to be aware of what you can't see," he said.
One of the planes involved is registered to a B & S Aviation Enterprises, an Atlantic Beach-based firm. It belongs to Brady and two co-owners, one of whom was piloting the aircraft at the time of the incident.
The other plane is registered to Aerosim Academy, a flight school in Sanford. Troopers identified the pilot of that plane as a 29-year-old Deland man and the passenger as a 28-year-old Sanford man.
Green said there tend to be a lot of training flights through the Palatka airport because access is easier without a tower.
"Traffic can vary quite a bit," he said. "On a typical day, it can be very quiet, but within an hour we can get quite a few training aircraft."
The collision is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration. The agency will determine who, if anyone was at fault, and what penalties might be meted out as a result.
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