On May 10, 1997, at 0810 eastern daylight time, a North American B-25J, N9456Z, registered to the Mid Atlantic Air Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania, sustained substantial damage during landing at the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport (W66), Midland, Virginia. The certificated commercial pilot, co-pilot, and three passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91 Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The B-25 was flown to W66 to be displayed at a local airshow event. Upon arrival at W66, the pilot executed a flyover of the airport and entered a left downwind pattern for runway 32. The pilot received a wind report from the UNICOM operator that the wind was "favoring" runway 32.
The pilot told an NTSB investigator he experienced light turbulence during the descent below 2,500 feet, and that it was continuous in the traffic pattern. He said that while on final approach, the airplane was buffeted by gusty winds that required several power applications to maintain his approach speed. The pilot further stated that while on short final, the airplane began to settle due to windshear and gusty winds, and the airplane touched down at the edge of the runway.
The pilot described the landing in a written statement. He said:
"Approaching actual threshold at 12-15 feet height above touchdown, with airspeed at 120 MPH initial flare was begun which was normal until aircraft again was buffeted and again experienced sink. Aircraft touched down at 115 mph, main wheels first at edge of actual runway threshold with left wheel hitting gravel area exactly at beginning of pavement and riding up over an uneven 'ramp' of asphalt...Contact to ground was firm but not excessively so."
Examination of the runway and wreckage by an NTSB Investigator revealed tire marks on a 3 to 4 inch raised area at the approach end of the runway. Tire marks on the runway extended for approximately 3/10 of a mile, where the left main landing gear collapsed, and the airplane veered off the left side of the runway.
Winds reported at the Manassas/Davis Airport, 12 miles northeast of W66, were from 310 degrees at 9 knots.
In the Recommendation (How Could This Accident Have Been Prevented) section of the NTSB Form 6120.1/2, the pilot stated:
1. Turf at runway threshold area was in poor repair which left depressed area in turf just prior to [8 inch] beginning of asphalt surface. If this area had been properly maintained occurrence would have been averted. 2. ...turbulence/wind shear on runway 32 is a known condition which local pilots are aware of and land long because of. Had UNICOM advised of possibility of turbulence/windshear...situation could have been handled differently..."
In the Federal Aviation Regulations Part 139.305, Certification and Operations: Land Airports Serving Certain Air Carriers it states:
Paved areas. (a) Each certificate holder shall maintain, and promptly repair the pavement of, each runway, taxiway, loading ramp, and parking area on the airport which is available for air carrier use as follows: (1) The pavement edges shall not exceed 3 inches difference in elevation between abutting pavement sections and between full strength pavement and abutting shoulders.
At the time of the accident, the airport was owned by Fauquier County, Virginia. According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Engineer, proposed FAA funded improvements to W66 would be completed under the guidelines of FAA Advisory Circular 150/5370-10. He stated:
"Currently the Fauquier County is finalizing an Environmental Assessment Report for improvements at the airport. FAA cannot program improvement funds until a satisfactory environmental finding is forthcoming. Runway 14/32 was constructed by the previous owner and is in generally fair to poor condition with poor drainage. At the time of construction, the runway was not generally designed to meet the construction standards contained in FAA Advisory Circular 150/5370-10. The runway was not constructed with Federal assistance. The airport is not certified under FAR Part 139 and will not likely be in the future. The 3 [inch] drop-off standard from edge of pavement contained in FAR Part 139 and the 1.5 [inch] construction standard in AC 150/5370-10 would not be applicable at this point in time."