San Luis Obispo City Council and the Airport Land Use Commission disagree.
The question is: How close should development be allowed to the airport?
An Aug. 23, 2014, story by AnnMarie Cornejo outlines the issue.
Full disclosure: Aircraft fly over The Tribune's office every day.
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The main runway 11-29 (numbered depending on traffic direction) lines up with three of five fatal air crashes since 1982.
Those three accidents can be plotted — almost in a line — from near the Madonna Road Post Office — to an industrial park off South Higuera — to runway 11-29.
The second of those three accidents claimed four lives.
A June 8, 1995, story from the Utah-based Deseret News reported the results of the National Transportation Safety Board investigation of the crash.
The report said a broken cylinder-connecting-rod and end cap separated from the crankshaft. The doomed plane also had a cracked engine case in the area of the broken cylinder-connecting-rod.
The young pilot was attempting to return to the airport when he crashed into power lines. Night conditions were a contributing factor in the failure to avoid the power lines.
Telegram-Tribune reporter Danna Dykstra-Coy wrote about the accident Aug. 8, 1994:
Plane crash kills four
SAN LUIS OBISPO — Four people from Utah were killed early Sunday when their rented single-engine plane crashed on northbound Highway 101 shortly after taking off from San Luis Obispo airport.
The 1976 Piper Cherokee Arrow struck two high-voltage power lines before crashing near Prado Road.
The downed lines knocked out power to 15,240 customers from San Luis Obispo to Morro Bay and along Los Osos Valley Road to Baywood Heights for up to 12½ hours, according to Arlene Morris-Versaw, a spokeswoman for Pacific Gas and Electric Co.
Three power lines snapped and fell across both sides of the highway in the 12:06 a.m. crash that forced the 8½-hour closure and rerouting of traffic on Highway 101 between Los Osos Valley Road and Madonna Road.
Dead at the scene were pilot Deric Todd, 21, of Provo; his 32-year-old brother Daniel Todd of Salem; co-pilot Lyman Gregor, 23, of Orem; and passenger Anjeanette Marian, of Blanding.
A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board said it would be weeks before authorities know what caused the crash. Witnesses said the engine wasn’t making a sound and the propeller wasn’t turning when the plane went down.
Deric Todd, a Templeton High School graduate, and his brother Daniel had flown from Provo on Saturday to spend a day with their parents in Garden Farms.
The plane developed engine problems after takeoff and was attempting to return to the airport when it struck two 115,000-volt power lines on the west side of the highway, according to the California Highway Patrol. The left wing sheared off on impact with the power lines.
The plane landed on the northbound lanes of the highway and skidded upside down for about 100 yards going against the flow of traffic and into the path of an oncoming Mitsubishi pickup.
The aircraft’s tail caught on the truck’s left bumper, peeling the twisting metal back to the passenger door like the top of a sardine can.
The truck’s sole occupant, William C. Brooks, 35, of North Hollywood, was reportedly headed to Paso Robles, where he planned to spend Sunday at the airport flying ultralight planes.
Brooks walked away from the scene with complaints of minor pain.
Deric Todd had only had his pilot’s license a few weeks and was trying to accumulate hours to become an instructor, his father Lorin Todd said Sunday.
Deric and Daniel’s mother, Joyce, drove them and Deric’s friends Gregory and Marian to the airport around 11:30 p.m. The group’s flight plan shows they intended to refuel in Las Vegas before returning to Provo.
“They were great kids and we just fell in love with them,” said Lorin Todd. “My wife kissed all four good-bye and stayed until she couldn’t see the plane anymore.”
Joyce Todd was just pulling on to the highway at Los Osos Valley Road when the crash happened right in front of her, said Lorin.
“Our foster son (Henry Ketchum) got out of the car to look and see if it was them,” Lorin Todd said, “He said, ‘Mama, it was the airplane the boys were in. They boys are in there.” Joyce Todd went to the wreckage to hold her sons for the last time.
Witnesses said the crash into the power lines lit up the black sky with bursts of white and blue that were seen from as far north as the Cuesta Grade.
At least 100 people who either heard the boom! boom! sound coming from the highway or were rattled by the bright sky and sudden blackout either walked, ran or drove to the scene, said 17-year-old Heidi Kapera of San Luis Obispo.
“Traffic was ridiculous,” she said. “It looked like a funeral procession.”
Kapera was watching “Night of the Living Dead” at a friend’s house, located just minutes from the crash, when the lights went out.
Her friend’s mother and father, Barbara and Michael Dennis, drove Kapera and their son to the Prado Road entrance of the highway after people in the neighborhood came out of their houses shouting: “A plane’s crashed!”
“My husband and I were talking in bed when all of a sudden the lights went out and we saw all the skyline light up,” said Barbara Dennis. “Right before this happened we heard a sound like a high-pitched woman’s scream. We looked at each other and jumped out of bed.”
The air was thick with the smell of gasoline when the five motorists who witnessed the crash abandoned their cars along the highway and raced to pour bottles of water or throw fistfuls of dirt onto the flames that broke out in the cabin, said Stewart Towle of Avila Beach.
Towle said once the flames were out the witnesses checked inside but quickly saw they were too late to help anyone aboard.
People lined the east side of Highway 101 before officers put up yellow tape and ordered them to leave.
Throughout the night Highway Patrol officers with flashlights walked up and down the 100-yard trail of debris, taking photographs and spraypainting orange circles around pieces of metal from the aircraft, backpacks, a cowboy boot, and other evidence that may help piece together what went wrong.
The plane was broken into three big sections that were scattered upside down across the northbound lanes: the left wing, the white tail with green and brown trim, and the cabin.
Littered across the northbound highway lanes were color photographs of children and what officers believe are family members.
Traffic at the time was unusually heavy from people leaving the Mid-State Fair, the nearby Sunset Drive-In and an Arroyo Grande High School reunion at Pacific Suites Hotel.
Sheriff Sgt. Scott Thompson said he and his wife, Shelly, had just left her class reunion 10 minutes before the accident.
He was later called to the crash to provide information to the media.
“We were at the base of Cuesta Grade when there was a flash in the sky and the radio station went dead,” Thompson said. He was listening to KZOZ, and when he switched to its sister station, KDDB, that was dead too.
“I just drove home. I didn’t know.”