A single-engine Cessna airplane that ended up in a Longueuil backyard has residents who live close to several flight schools wondering whether 17 is too young to fly a plane.
On Saturday, the small plane crashed into a backyard in St-Hubert, not far from the airport it took off from. Four flight schools operate 52 planes out of that airport.
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Resident Joanna Domingue said it was only matter of time before an accident happened. She said she's always been concerned about low-flying planes going in and out of the St-Hubert airport.
"They're not at... 10,000 feet. They're near us, at about 500 feet, 300 feet," Domingue said.
Another neighbour told CBC News on Sunday that she was surprised to learn the pilot who crashed is only 17 years old. She said she thought a person had to be at least 18 to fly a plane.
According to federal regulations, student pilots as of the age of 14 can fly with a learners' permit; people 17 and up can get their full licence.
17 is old enough, says instructor
Flight instructor Aaron Ashton said 17 is usually old enough to fly a plane, depending on the candidate.
“It’s all about the maturity of the candidate and the student coming in," Ashton told Radio Noon on Monday. He said instructors normally issue licences on a case-by-case basis.
Thierry Dugrippe, chief operating officer of Air Richelieu's flying club, said the pilot who crashed the plane attended his flight school.
He said the young pilot spent 12 hours in a flight simulator on top of her flight hours, and that two separate instructors who flew with her deemed her fit to fly alone.
Dugrippe said the accident happened on her fourth solo flight.
The only person hurt in the crash was the pilot, who managed to avoiding hitting a house and power lines. She suffered minor injuries and was scheduled to be discharged from hospital Monday.
The plane was totalled.