A Long Island, NY, man is still shaken after he says a metal object plummeted from the sky and slammed into the pavement just feet from where he was standing outside his home Thursday.
Gus Binos was washing a van outside his home at about 3:30 p.m. when he heard the startling noise -- a metal clipboard landing 20 feet from where he was standing in the driveway of his home on Oakwood Drive in the Suffolk County hamlet of Shirley.
"I just jumped and turned," Binos said.
"Wow, what if I got hit with it?" Binos said. "It is a very sharp piece of metal. I mean, with the velocity that it was coming down, it would have stuck a hole in my head."
Jammed inside the clip was a thin stack of aviation documents, including flight patterns and navigation guidelines for flying through New York City's Hudson River corridor and around the Statue of Liberty. The clipboard also held a runway map of nearby MacArthur Airport in Islip.
Adam Rosenberg, who is both a pilot and an FAA examiner, uses a clipboard similar to the one that landed in Binos's driveway. The clipboard has a strap that can secure to an aviator's leg, allowing for flight papers to sit on the lap while both hands are at the controls.
It's possible, Rosenberg said, that a pilot accidentally left the clipboard resting on the exterior of the aircraft before takeoff.
"Sometimes in the process of preparing to 'pre-flight' an airplane, or after you get out of an aircraft, you will put something on the wing. However, the odds of it making it off the airport property once the airplane begins taking off are very slim," Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg said it is highly unusual -- but not unheard of -- for a pilot to accidentally lose an item like a clipboard while in mid-air. A cockpit door could accidentally come open and some planes have exposed cockpits.
Jim Peters, a spokesperson for the FAA, said it is not mandatory for a pilot to report when a personal item accidentally falls from an aircraft. Official reports are required, however, if something falls to the ground that might impact the air-worthiness of an aircraft.
"If a part of a plane becomes loose, they must report it," Peters said.
Peters said FAA investigators want to speak with Binos and examine the clipboard to find out where it came from.