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Model plane crash begs more questions

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Model planes can be tremendous in scale. Pictured above is an example of a model plane that requires a runway to take off and land. Image courtesy of the FAA.

The Little Elm Fire Department was dispatched to a model plane crash on Friday, a situation that was originally thought to be worst. Occurring at the intersection of Navo Road and Fishtrap Road, the crash was originally called in as passenger plane incident.

When firefighters arrived on scene, the crash was quickly reported to be a false alarm and the situation was taken under control. The crash did, however, result in a small fire that was able to be quelled in a timely manner.

“When firefighters arrived on scene they determined that there were no occupants in the plane and just a fire. The situation was cleared up after this determination was made,” a Little Elm Fire Department spokesman said.

The incident does beg the question though of how a model plane was mistaken for a full sized jet. Many are also pondering if these model planes are becoming slightly too realistic. According to the fire department spokesman, this model plane did reach a larger scale and required a runway just to take off and land.

“This wasn’t your typical model plane that you can hold in your hand. These planes are pretty large and, apparently, are at a certain scale that people can mistake them for real engine. I have seen these types of planes in Irving and Coppell where they have shows of these model engines for people to come see,” the spokesman said.

For Little Elm specifically, these model plane incidents are not common occurrences. The spokesman indicated this was the only crash of this nature that he was aware of. In Texas, however, and in cities where these objects are more common, model plane crashes are not as atypical.

“I don’t think this has happened before. It was an isolated incident as far as I am concerned. These models have been around, and out, for years now. You will see more of this in other cities where there are more shows,” the spokesman said.

In Texas, model planes are governed by the drone laws that have been established in 2019. A person flying any object that resembles a drone, like a model plane falls under, must have a license or permit to fly them. As just a “hobbyist”, as the law outlines, the model plane must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and follow the guidelines for the agency’s “special rule for model aircrafts”.

A 2017 Texas law states the role of local governments is limited in this regard.

“This law prohibits local governments from regulating these types of aircrafts except during special events and when the aircraft is used by the locality,” the law writes.

As for this plane crash, which landed in a field just northwest of the intersection, the fire department does not foresee many more cases like this one coming in the future.


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