St-Hubert plane crash an accident waiting to happen, residents say

Residents of a St-Hubert neighbourhood where a single-engine Cessna airplane crashed on Saturday say they fully expected an accident to happen one day due to four nearby flight schools.

Residents warned city officials of dangers of having flight schools so close to residential neighbourhood

Denise Duguay has been complaining about the noise overhead from planes operating out of the St-Hubert airport for years. She said sometimes the noise starts as early as 5 a.m. and goes until at least midnight. (CBC)

Residents of a St-Hubert neighbourhood where a single-engine Cessna airplane crashed on Saturday say they fully expected an accident to happen one day.

Four flight schools operate a total of 52 planes out of the St-Hubert airport. Denise Duguay, who is a member of a local anti-noise committee, said sometimes there is loud noise as early as 5 a.m. and as late as midnight or 1 a.m.

She also said the planes fly too close to their homes for comfort.

“We told the mayor at each [town hall] meeting that there would be an accident, and it finally happened,” said Duguay, a resident on Jean-Baptiste-Charron Street, where the plane crashed.

After crashing into this backyard the pilot, who was alone in the aircraft, was taken to hospital for the treatment of minor injuries. (Rémy Desjardins)

A 17-year-old pilot had been flying the plane when she crashed into a backyard, narrowly avoiding a house and power lines.

Duguay, who has lived on the street for 30 years, said she accepts that there is an airport nearby but said there needs to be a little more respect for the people living in the nearby residential areas.

The city of Longueuil announced last March it would help curb noise by buying silencers for the flight schools’ planes.

However, Duguay said that’s not enough — she wanted to see the flight schools move to either the Mirabel or Beloeil airport.

17-year-old pilot flying solo

Neither Caroline Paré nor her two daughters were home at the time of the crash, but Paré said she was very uncomfortable and scared by the news.

“It could happen at my place. We were very upset,” she said.

She was surprised to learn the pilot is only 17 years old and that she was flying by herself.

She said she thought pilots had to be at least 18 years old to fly a plane solo. In Canada, student pilots as of the age of 14 can fly solo with a learners' permit.

The pilot sustained minor injuries and no one else was hurt.

The Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash on Monday.

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