DALLAS - It was a very close call for a pilot who crash-landed in a North Dallas parking lot late Monday night.
No one was hurt when the pilot made the landing outside the Extended Stay Hotel off of the Dallas North Tollway about two miles from the Addison Municipal Airport.
At first glance, it looks like it's a miracle the pilot made it down safely at night and walked away from it. But one longtime pilot and crash investigator says it should have never happened.
The Piper PA-28 made the crash around 11:30 p.m. First responders say the single-engine plane clipped a tree and slammed into the base of a light pole and spun around before coming to a stop. The pilot was not injured and used a fire extinguisher to put out a small fire after landing.
The FAA says the pilot was flying alone from Tupelo, Mississippi, to Weatherford when he reported that the aircraft was losing fuel shortly before it landed.
Denny Kelly is a former commercial airline captain, crash investigator and aviation consultant. He’s been a pilot for 55 years and believes the pilot failed to follow or ignored low fuel or "fuel leak" protocols.
"This attitude of, ‘I know I can make it. I know I can make it.’ That's what gets people killed,” Kelly said. “He should have put the airplane on the ground at the first of available airport. And there's lots of them out there, period."
A crew dismantled the aircraft Tuesday afternoon and carried it off on a flatbed truck.
The FAA says it can't release the name of the pilot but says it is investigating the cause of the crash landing. The owner of the plane who declined to comment.
Kelly says if the plane did run out of fuel, it is likely that the FAA will take action against the pilot.
No one else was hurt and no buildings were damaged.