HEMET, Calif. - Residents in the brand new Hemet community off Warren Road shake their heads at the crumpled single-engine plane that crashed into a cinder block wall behind one of their houses, barely missing the home.
The two residents inside were not injured, but the pilot suffered critical injuries, with burns over most of his body.
NTSB officials are looking into the cause of the incident. It seems the pilot may have been practicing touch-and-go landings from nearby Hemet Ryan Airport, a popular training spot for the type of maneuver where pilots take off and land without really stopping.
"It’s scary," says one neighbor, who sees the small planes flying over all the time. "I thought about the possibility," adds Carolyn Gordon, who actually lives even closer to the airport, "and have told my husband we might want to move."
Three years ago, almost to the day, a pilot died when he crash-landed his plane at the same airport. He had just taken off, on the morning of June 8, 2019, in a home kit-built airplane. That plane crashed on the runway, though.
In April of 2020, a twin-engine piper crashed near Bautista Canyon Road, in a mountainous area a few miles from the airport. That pilot died.
The area has seen an explosion of residential building nearby. The airfield has been here since the 1940s and is a level 1 training airfield. Residents say they may organize community meetings with local officials to discuss some of their concerns.