Final Report: Pilot Error Caused VLJ Overrun
Eclipse Aviation EA-500, West Chester, Pa. July 30, 2008–The pilot’s failure to obtain the proper touchdown point, along with his excessive airspeed on approach, was the cause of the crash, which caused substantial damage to the twinjet, the National Transportation Safety Board ruled. The pilot told investigators that as he passed the runway threshold of his home field–Brandywine Airport–he felt his speed was “a little high” but manageable as he completed the less-than-six-minute flight from nearby Wings Field Airport in Philadelphia. After touchdown he felt the VLJ skid as he applied the brakes but decided not to make a go-around because of the “distance left.” As he pumped the brakes and then applied them fully, the airplane skidded to the right and exited the 3,097-foot runway, striking two runway threshold lights, traveling down a 40-foot embankment and crossing a service road before hitting trees and a chain-link fence. Investigators found that skid marks began approximately 868 feet from the displaced threshold and continued for nearly 2,230 feet. According to data retrieved from the Eclipse’s diagnostic storage unit, the pilot selected flaps 30 when the aircraft was at 694 feet msl at approximately 147 knots, which is 27 knots above the airplane’s maximum flap extension speed. It touched down at approximately 92 knots, some 14 knots faster than specified. The ATP-rated pilot and his passenger were uninjured in the accident.