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Airport Reviews Safety Measures After Plane Clips SUV

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ROANOKE (CBS 11 NEWS)- The manager of Northwest Regional Airport says he is working with the FAA to make the airport safer after a Cessna Skyhawk plane clipped the top of an SUV as it crossed a road on airport property.

The road is private property but is used to connect the east and west sides of the small, private airport.

Amateur video shot by the pilot, William Davis’ wife, Kandy, begins when the Cessna Skyhawk comes into view. It is coming in from the North. Just below, a blue Volvo SUV is crossing the private road on the north side of the runaway. Seconds later, the two collided.

Moments later, the following conversation is heard on the video.

“Whatever that is, it fell. Whatever that is, it hit our car,” said Heather Laudo.

“That’s the landing gear. You got hit by an airplane,” said Glen Hyde, airport manager for Northwest Regional Airport.

“I know that,” said Heather Laudo.

“Why did you pull out in front of an airplane is what I want to know?” Hyde said.

“We didn’t pull out in front of an airplane!” Heather Laudo said.

“Yes you did!” said Kandy Davis.

There is no way to tell from the video, if the SUV made a complete stop, but it’s easy to miss the stop if you’ve never been to the airport.

“You can’t really put up a sign because it’s in a primary safety clear zone off the end of the runaway. But you can mark the road,” Hyde said.

The word STOP is painted on the road, but there is no actual stop sign, which, according to the FAA, could be considered an obstruction so close to the runaway.

Airport regulars know the protocol when the runaway is active: stop and look both ways.

Hyde says he’s working with the FAA to allow him to place bigger, more visible warning signs for new visitors along the fence that is parallel to the road in question.

“We might be able to put some signage on that fence. It’s made out of plastic, so when you’re pulling off the road at least you can see a sign to your left,” he said.

The FAA is investigating, but told CBS11 because the airport is private, the FAA has no regulatory authority over safety measures at the airport.

There were no serious injuries but Davis, who was 4 weeks away from obtaining, his pilot’s license said he may never fly again.

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