Weekend crash shows value of safety improvement at local airport

Do you recall that Star Tribune story about South St. Paul’s Fleming Field being encroached upon by neighbors and the planned removal of two homes to create a safety zone at the end of a northwest-heading runway?

You may also recall a video I made, showing that the southeast-heading runway already had the safety zone.

And, as it turns out, it was a good thing over the weekend.

It happened on Sunday morning. A pilot was struggling to gain altitude after taking off on the runway with the “safety zone,” and put the plane down in the grass at the end of the runway, skidding into a fence.

It was some fine airmanship. Without the safety zone, a pilot might well have tried to stay airborne, run out of lift, and crashed into the houses.

As it is, the plane is a lost cause, but everyone survived and nobody on the ground got hurt.

Related: South Minneapolis residents increasingly sounding off on airport noise (Star Tribune)