The FAA and the state of Connecticut were willing to pay 97 percent of the $4.5 million price tag to have trees removed from around Danbury Municipal Airport (DXR), but Danbury politicians were unwilling to come up with the remaining $110,000. But a January 7 accident changed the city council’s mind. A 24-year-old flight instructor had taken off from the airport when the engine of his 1975 Piper Warrior began to lose power. He tried to return for landing on 4,400-foot-long Runway 8 but hit trees and the aircraft burst into flames. The pilot was seriously injured, but, according to local news reports, a pair of FedEx employees saw the Warrior crash and pulled him from the wreckage. Within two days the city approved the funding for the tree trimming.
Without the tree removal, the FAA had warned the city that it would have to displace the thresholds of the airport’s two runways. The shorter runway is just over 3,100 feet. Before the town agreed to contribute to cutting down the trees, the FAA said it would not contribute to maintenance or repair costs at the airport.