Was a texting pilot behind JFK runway fail?

A small charter aircraft is taxiing along a runway at New York's JFK airport. The pilot is allegedly so keen to use his cell phone that he may not have been paying full attention, and the plane strikes ground lights.

Texting? Or just trouble getting a signal?

We all know that we shouldn't use our cell phones while driving.

Yes, of course we do it anyway, but always with a tinge of guilt.

Surely, though, few would take that same cavalier attitude if they were piloting a plane. Somehow, one imagines that this task requires a little more concentration, amid the prospect of even more serious danger.

Yet it seems that one pilot of a small charter plane may have needed -- or perhaps merely wanted -- to use his cell phone while he was taxiing toward takeoff on Thursday evening.

As it happens, he wasn't wafting along the slipways of some tiny regional airport in Alberta. No, he was at JFK.

As NYC Aviation reports, its information suggests he was taxiing across the active Runway 31R on taxiway Echo.

He was at the controls of a Swearingen SA226-AT Merlin IV.

The result, one suspects, incited a little swearing. For he plowed into ground lights, damaging the plane's propellers. (NYC Aviation has the pictures.)

The FAA is reportedly investigating the incident, which allegedly caused the runway to be closed for two hours.

I confess I've never heard of a pilot being involved in an accident while using a cell phone.

In this case, it isn't clear whether he was allegedly talking or texting.

Some small part of me hopes that he was texting, as this would prove that no one is immune from the peculiar temptation of typing and chatting while you're supposed to be doing something far more important.

 

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