ROY — Last month’s crash of an airplane in Roy shortly after it took off from Ogden-Hinkcley Airport has prompted concern among many residents worried the proximity of the airport puts the city in harm’s way.
Mayor Bob Dandoy, though, who spearheaded a meeting last week on the issue between area leaders and aviation officials, hasn’t gotten any indication from airport officials or others that the Ogden airport is problematic. “They didn’t see anything that was glaring,” he said.
On the contrary, Bryant Garrett, the airport manager, says activity at the Ogden airport is within the norm in terms of accidents in and around the facility. He’s worked at five airports in 35 years and he estimates that airports, generally speaking, can expect one visit per year on average from National Transportation Safety Board officials, who respond to plane accidents.
“Every airport I’ve been at has its share of crashes,” he said.
What’s more, doing away with crashes altogether probably isn’t in the cards. “There isn’t any easy solution for it,” he said.
The debate has come up over the years in Roy, which abuts the southwestern corner of the Ogden airport, most recently in the wake of the Jan. 15 crash of a small airplane in a Roy neighborhood about a mile south of the airport. The crash, still under investigation, killed the craft’s pilot, Dave Goode. The plane struck a townhome, though no one on the ground was hurt.
Roy Police Chief Carl Merino called for an investigation in the wake of the Jan. 15 crash, noting with concern that four Roy schools sit under the flight path for planes traveling to and from the airport.
At a meeting on Jan. 23 called in response to the Jan. 15 crash, numerous residents spoke out, expressing concern about living so close to the airport, which sits adjacent to a residential area of northeastern Roy.
Indeed, other air accidents have occurred in Roy. A small craft crashed into a car driving along 1900 West in the city in 2017 shortly after taking off, for instance. In 2010, a plane hit several Roy homes while trying to land in foggy weather.
Aside from noting that the crash rate in the area is not out of the ordinary, though, Garrett also said there aren’t any commonalities to the accidents that have occurred in the area that would suggest any particular remedy. “The point is, there’s no common thread with any of the crashes,” he said. “It has nothing to do with the airport.”
Dandoy has acknowledged that it’s been the city that has encroached on the airport, minimizing the buffer between the two and raising the specter of crashes in residential areas by planes taking off or preparing to land. It may be too late to do anything to fully deal with that.
And referencing Merino’s concerns that the flight path to the airport goes over four Roy schools — two elementary schools, a junior high school and a high school — Garrett said that placement wasn’t the doing of airport officials. If officials are so concerned, he went on, maybe when the school structures reach the end of their useful lives they can be relocated.
‘EXTRAORDINARY AMOUNT OF REGULATIONS’
Dandoy helped organize a Feb. 13 meeting on the issue involving himself, Garrett, Federal Aviation Administration officials and the mayors of West Haven, Riverdale and Roy. There, he put many of the questions that came up at the Jan. 23 public meeting with Roy residents to the assembled aviation officials. Whatever the case, he echoed Garrett’s contention about the lack of commonalities between the accidents.
“We tried to look for the thread that ties them all together and it’s hard,” he said, though pilot error typically accounts for an inordinate number of plane crashes.
At the Jan. 23 meeting, Merino broached the idea of sending Roy police officers to the Ogden airport to review airplane records to make sure they’re getting the number of inspections they’re required by the feds to get. The aim would be to head off the possibility of a mishap stemming from mechanical failure by making sure airplanes are getting the mechanical attention they need. The Ogden airport, Dandoy noted, doesn’t have a permanent FAA inspector stationed at the facility.
Aviation officials, though, put the kibosh on that notion. “They said they strongly don’t recommend that,” Dandoy said.
Garrett maintains that the airline sector is already focus of plenty oversight. “There’s just an extraordinary amount of regulations out here already,” he said.