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Small plane crashes into Tampa Building

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Can't get the 9 news "more info" link to work! :mad:
CNN says it was a 15 year old student pilot....

Small Plane Crashes Into Tampa Building

January 05, 2002 05:47 PM ET

MIAMI (Reuters) - A small plane crashed into the Bank of America building in Tampa, Florida late on Saturday afternoon, the Tampa Tribune reported in its Web site.

The newspaper said the plane was being followed by a Coast Guard helicopter.

Television footage showed the tail of a small plane hanging out of the window of the building. The plane's number was X237IN.

There was no sign of smoke or fire.

HERE'S A PIC <http://www.airliners.net/discussions/general_aviation/read.main/696429/>
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Plane hit on the 20th floor about 1/2 way up the Nations Bank building in downtown Tampa - it's a 40 story building. When the plane hit the wings snapped off - it was a rented plane from St. Pete, FL. It was reported the tail # is N237IN.
You can't have an "I" in a tail number. The tail number was N2371N, a Cessna 172R. It hit the 15th floor, and the Coast Guard is saying that it took off without a clearance from tower. I guess that's why they might have been following it.
We had video on our local news showing the heighth of the office building with a window blown out and the aircraft pieces sticking out from it. Eerie, :( in light of recent events.
You are correct. You can't have an "I-India" or an "O-Oscar" in tail numbers because of confusion with the numbers "1" and "0" respectively.
suicide or accident?

If you look at the picture of the building, you can see that the windows on either side of the hole are undamaged within the approxomite wingspan of the 172. There is substantial damage on the floor above, though. That tells me the kid was in a pretty steep bank when he hit. Could be he was just buzzing the downtown and didn't see that he was turning into a building? He obviously knew enough about the plane to start up and take off, but maybe he didn't know what a blind spot high-wing aircraft have in a bank.
I live in Tampa and have been watching the local news reports all night. The pilot was a 15-year-old pre-solo student. He had a dual lesson scheduled for late Saturday afternoon from St Pete-Clearwater airport. His instructor sent him out alone to preflight the aircraft. It seems the student started up, taxied out, and took off, solo, without talking to anyone. In other words, he stole the airplane. The tower, obviously, became aware of his actions and asked a H-60 Coast Guard helicopter, which happened to be awaiting takeoff. to give chase.

The helicopter rejoined with the student pilot over MacDill Air Force Base (which just happens to house US Central Command -- which is running the Afghanistan operation) and tried to get the student pilot to land at Peter O'Night airport in south Tampa. The pilot ignored the visual signals and then proceeded to fly directly into the tallest building in Tampa with the Coast Guard H-60 in chase.

The good news is the only injury/fatality was to the student pilot, and the building damage will be relatively minor.

This was a very tragic incident for all involved. But I suspect it may turn out to be just a unique way for a disturbed teenager to commit suicide.

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