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Fri, Aug 08, 2008

NTSB Issues Preliminary Report On Brandywine EA500 Landing Accident

Plane Skidded Off Runway After Coming In "A Little" High And Fast

Editor's Note: Below is the unedited transcript of the National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary report on the July 30, 2008 landing accident involving an Eclipse 500 very-light-jet. As ANN reported, the pilot and his young daughter were uninjured when the plane skidded off the runway at Brandywine Airport (OQN) in Pennsylvania.

According to the accident pilot, the plane was fully fueled prior to takeoff from Wings Field Airport in Philadelphia, for the 17 nautical-mile flight to OQN. Factoring in fuel used on the short trip, and with only one adult passenger and one child onboard, the aircraft should have been comfortably under the maximum landing weight for the Eclipse 500.

Runway 9/27 at Brandywine is listed as 3,347' x 50'. Witness accounts cited in earlier media reports indicate the runway was damp from recent rainfall, though the NTSB makes no mention of runway conditions in the prelim. The pilot acknowledges coming in "a little high" on both altitude and speed.

Though the NTSB's initial report is not a definitive ruling, the pilot's account would appear to indicate the incident was not related to a known problem with some Eclipse 500 throttle quadrants -- that first surfaced in a June landing incident at Chicago's Midway Airport -- in which the engines become unresponsive to throttle inputs when the quadrant's range is exceeded.

The Eclipse 500 has suffered a number of maingear tire blowouts on landing, a malady the company has attributed largely to pilots coming in too hot on landing (though Eclipse is also working on a more durable tire). Additionally, many have criticized Eclipse's decision not to equip the EA500 with anti-skid braking, particularly after the aircraft's original target weights were increased with the installation of heavier engines and wingtip-mounted tip tanks.

Judging by the account below, this incident will likely do nothing to quell that debate. -- RF

NTSB Identification: NYC08FA261
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, July 30, 2008 in West Chester, PA
Aircraft: Eclipse Aviation Corporation EA500, registration: N333MY
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On July 30, 2008, about 1830 eastern daylight time, an Eclipse Aviation Corporation EA500 business jet airplane, N333MY, sustained substantial damage during a runway overrun while landing at Brandywine Airport (OQN), West Chester, Pennsylvania. The certificated airline transport pilot, and the sole passenger were not injured. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that departed Wings Field Airport (LOM), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. No flight plan was filed for the flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot's written statement, He had the airplane "topped off" prior to departing for OQN.

During a visual approach for runway 27 at OQN, he "set up for a normal approach" and "dropped gear" and "one notch of flaps." A short time later, when the airplane had slowed, he then selected landing flaps. He believed that he was "a little high" on the approach so he "dipped down." As he passed the runway threshold his speed was "a little high," but he thought it was manageable. After touchdown, he "got on the brakes" and felt the airplane skid, but decided not to "go around" due to the "distance left." At this point he was "pumping" the wheel brakes "continuously," and then applied "full brakes." The airplane then began to skid to the right and went off the end of the runway.

After leaving the runway, the airplane traveled down a 40-foot embankment and crossed a service road. The airplane came to rest against trees and a chain link fence approximately 184 feet beyond the departure end of runway 27, along a magnetic heading of 265 degrees.

Examination of the airplane revealed multiple fractures and areas of crush and compression damage to both the airframe and flight control surfaces. The nose landing gear was separated from its attach point. Both main landing gear were collapsed, and they had penetrated the upper surface of the wing structure. The wing flaps and the flap lever were found in the landing position.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov, www.eclipseaviation.com

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