August 13, 2008
By Thomas B Haines
The pilot of the Eclipse 500 that ran off the runway at the Brandywine Airport in West Chester, Pa., told the NTSB he was fast and high on the approach to the relatively short, narrow runway.
The accident, the first for the new model of the very light jet, caused substantial damage to the airplane but the pilot and the only passenger, his young daughter, were not hurt.
In its preliminary report, the NTSB said winds were calm and visibility at 10 miles as the pilot attempted the landing on the runway, which is 3,347 feet long and 50 feet wide. The runway has a one-degree downward slope. Trees at the end displace the threshold by 250 feet.
After touchdown, the pilot attempted to stop the airplane, but it skidded to the right and off the end of the runway, plummeting down a 40-foot embankment and across a road into trees 184 feet beyond the end of the pavement. The NTSB found no pre-impact mechanical problems.
In the accident, the airplane skin sustained multiple fractures and crush and compression damage to both the airframe and flight control surfaces. The nose landing gear separated from its attach point. Both main landing gear collapsed and penetrated the upper surface of the wing structure. The cabin, however, remained intact.
According to one source, the ATP-rated pilot had landed the Eclipse at the airport 60 times previously.
AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines joined AOPA in 1988. He owns and flies a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. Since soloing at 16 and earning a private pilot certificate at 17, he has flown more than 100 models of general aviation airplanes.
As the cold weather chills AOPA’s Headquarters in Frederick, many of us are inside generating new resources for flying clubs.
In my house, every Friday night is “Movie Night.” While the movies are rarely educational (I don’t think I learned anything from the Lego Movie), we look forward to the weekly opportunity to spend time together. Why not use the same concept for your Flying Club (with the addition of education, of course)?
AOPA Flying Club Manager Kelby Ferwerda posted the following on the AOPA Flying Club Facebook Page: “Recently I’ve talked with quite a few Flying Clubs about maintaining social activity through the cold winter months. Some clubs host Holliday Parties, others have Potluck Movie Nights. What does your club do to keep members involved during the chilly months?”
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