3 killed after small plane crashes into Tokyo residential area


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What a terrible and tragic accident. The pictures on the TV news were really shocking and the surrounding damage was spread over quite a large area involving what seemed like around 10 houses. It is really surprising given the devastation that people from the completely destroyed plane actually survived. With 2 houses completely destroyed too, it seems amazing that more were not killed on the ground as well. Hope the survivors pull through.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The photos look rather catastrophic, with one housing complex completely destroyed, and at least 3 housing complexes damaged. Most likely a case of pilot error.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

"The crash killed the pilot, a passenger and a woman in a house, while three passengers were pulled alive from the wreckage."

The news is now saying the pilot and co-pilot of the Piper were killed and the three passengers climbed out of the wreckage on their own, although injured. In addition to the woman in one of the houses who was killed, there was talk of at least one other woman who was burned on the legs.

As bad as thus was it might have been much worse. There is film of a plane flying right over a field full of kids playing soccer followed by the sounds of the crash. Those kids were lucky.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Most likely a case of pilot error.

What makes you say that? To me it seems more like a malfunction... maybe due to pilot error but just as likely due to a maintenance issue.

“I have lived here for a long time and get used to the noise of light planes, but it was obviously abnormal,” Kotaro Sunaga, a 32-year-old businessman, told Jiji Press.

Let's not speculate.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Most likely a case of pilot error.

Why and, how are you qualified to make that judgement based on a few photos?

9 ( +9 / -1 )

A true tragic event. Fortunately the passengers survived. Cannot expect one would imagine getting killed by a light plane inside your own house.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Here is footage of the accident site:

Here is the plane flying over the soccer field before it crashed:

4 ( +6 / -2 )

WesternerJapan87 - Most likely a case of pilot error.

Hmmm.. Well according to the video Sensato provided for us...

Here is the plane flying over the soccer field before it crashed:

... the propeller likely stopped moving. It could be error, but it could likely as well be engine malfunction as has already been mentioned. The more you know ミ☆

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The crash killed the pilot, a passenger and a woman in a house, while three passengers were pulled alive from the wreckage.

Alas! I guess it was especially a bolt from the blue for the unlucky woman who happened to be in the house.

May the departed souls rest in peace.

And in contrast, it was nothing short of a miracle for three passengers who were pulled alive from the wreckage. Amazing!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Says it was to fly to Oshima but looks like it was returning to Chofu...........mechanical issue..........

to those that passed RIP!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

That video was good. Plane sounded normal. Perhaps a suicide?

-8 ( +1 / -8 )

With five souls aboard, full fuel, and high density altitude, the plane's performance may been significantly degraded. This is just speculation; not enough information has been released to make even an educated guess at this point.

-2 ( +1 / -2 )

I saw the video of the plane fly over the soccer field while they were playing. You see it fly low then a big sound. I was surprised the players continued playing as if nothing happened and only the cameraman noticed.

2 ( +4 / -1 )

That looks like a soccer ground not far from Ajinomoto Stadium. There are a whole bunch around there and always full of kids. The propeller does not seem to be spinning as fast as it should.

-4 ( +0 / -3 )

I was surprised the players continued playing as if nothing happened and only the cameraman noticed.

Welcome to Japan. This is the land of oblivion.

I have, a couple of times, complained about low flying aircraft, even getting the principal of my school to call the airport to complain. I know stuff like this can happen, but seriously, planes fly low overhead and Japanese people will just assume its normal, safe, legal or acceptable.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Praying for all involved

-4 ( +0 / -3 )

With the youtube video link shared above, if the speed of plane after take-off was not 120km/hour, with 5 passengers and baggages (and full-fuel tank), the plane would not simply climbed-up but had stalled probably.

-1 ( +2 / -2 )

Why and, how are you qualified to make that judgement based on a few photos?

Because pilot error is the most common cause of airplane crashes.

-1 ( +2 / -2 )

Welcome to Japan. This is the land of oblivion.

Exactly. Any other country in the world, and the kids would have reacted differently.

-4 ( +1 / -4 )

Yeah, I don't think so. They were focused on their game, not on the plane flying overhead. It's not like kids in other countries are generally on the lookout for plane crashes, and it's not something you would expect would be happening.

-1 ( +3 / -3 )

Most likely a case of pilot error... Why and, how are you qualified to make that judgement based on a few photos?*

As Nessie said, the overwhelming cause of aviation accidents are the result of pilot error, and the ones that are caused by maintenance or mechanical error also fall back on the pilot who usually deferred serving, or failed to notice a defect doing their walk around pre-flight check list. While there are maintenance faults can occur as a result of an error by a mech, unseen by the pilot, this is rarely the primary failure.

Haven't seen any video of the flight, and sadly this being a small GA A/C, it likely won't have a FDR or CVR, but I might be inclined to guess that there was a load issue, or a bad decision was made at V1 or V2 rotation

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I've got 15 years of piloting experience, not claiming that gives me godly knowledge of what happened, but here's my take.

In the footage of the plane approaching the field, it appears the plane does not have it's flaps extended correctly. This is essential for lift while at low speeds, the engine sounded healthy and at around 95% power.

The second clip we here the explosion.

Looking at the crash scene, there is impact marks on the roof to the left of where the plane wreck is, they appear to have been made by low speed impact. A stall in my honest opinion.

My belief is the pilot did not use flaps on take-off resulting in loss of lift and then a stall, causing him to fall out of the sky, hitting the roof and the plane then turning upside down.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Best rate of climb speed for a Piper Cherokee 6 is 89kts IAS (about 165km/h Indicated Air Speed), now 120km/h.

The crash site is about 800 metres away from the runway threshold, and at a direction about 20 degrees east of the runway heading.

As for the reason / causes -- it is far too early to speculate. There will be an investigation to determine what caused this crash. When that investigation is finished and the results released is when we will know.

-1 ( +1 / -1 )

"now" = "not".

-2 ( +0 / -1 )

@team player

It may be because those "players" are kids no older than 12 years.... it may be because, the Chofu airfield and the soccer ground are located so nearby to each other that the planes taking off at low altitude is not something special ( I have a couple of persons that live around there that told me that most planes taking off from there fly so low you could "touch them").

Also, notice that there is around 3 to 4 seconds from the time the plane passes by to the moment you hear an explosion on the back ground when people begins to react.

0 ( +3 / -2 )

The 34-year-old woman who died after the plane hit her home was a dog lover who worked as a dog trimmer. One of the injured women lived in the same house.

0 ( +2 / -1 )

The soccer field is right next to the airport and small aircraft take off and land all through the day. It's no surprise the kids didn't look up.

I live close by, I see planes take off and land almost every day. With the wisdom of knowing what happened next the plane does look quite low, but I don't think we can extend the reactions of kids playing soccer to some kind of thesis on Japan.

I guess there will be quite a few concerned citizens questioning the safety of the airport.

-2 ( +1 / -2 )

Got interrupted by the doorbell and neglected to add that it was reported the woman who died in her home, and her mother, had only just moved into that house less than two weeks before (it belonged to a relative/s that moved for work reasons.) what horrid, unfortunate timing.

As for the 82-year-old who has lived there a long time but never thought a plane would crash there, I wonder if she was not living there in 1980 when a plane crashed into the nearby junior high school?

1 ( +1 / -1 )

Did not know these small planes had flaps that go in and out.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Conditions reported at time of accident: temperature 34C, dew point 22C, atmospheric pressure 29.84in, winds light and variable at 2kts. Density altitude would be around 2700ft for those conditions at 139ft field elevation.

Full fuel stated on flight plan, and estimated load of 4078lbs with 4299lbs as max gross have been reported. Assuming that all of those numbers are correct, and that the CG was within limits, the flight may have been right at the edge of the aircraft's book performance capabilities (this based on performance charts from another PA-46-350P's POH; the actual numbers from the accident aircraft's POH may be different, but likely similar). For typical GA flying, doubling the book performance is considered prudent. The JTSB will determine if this contributed to the accident.

Elsewhere are witness statements suggesting engine trouble. The raw video of the soccer game is here: I hear four anomalous sounds starting at :22 before the fire ignites at :28. That anyone survived suggests that the aircraft was under control at time of impact.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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