On June 11, 2000, about 1630 Eastern Daylight Time, a homebuilt Long EZ, N5534V, was substantially damaged while landing at Brandywine Airport, West Chester, Pennsylvania. The certificated commercial pilot and passenger received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight. No flight plan had been filed for the flight that was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot stated:
"I was just performing touch and go landing at Brandywine Airport. Because the airport only has a 3,000 foot runway, I fly a precision approach to allow me the length on the runway to stop. The Long-Ez is a hard airplane to stop because of the amount of wing area and lightweight. I was flying a standard approach to which I was used to. On short final I was on centerline and glideslope when I dropped 50-60 feet within 2-3 secs. The only explanation I have for this air pocket would be a possible downdraft created by the wind direction and trees just south of the runway threshold. This sudden descent placed me just above the runway altitude and still descending. I was about 200-300 meters from the runway threshold when I went to max power trying to stop my descent. 100 meters from the runway, the airplane began a shallow climb, however, not in time to reach the runway altitude. I impacted the slope about 5-10 feet below the runway on a slope leading to it. Then slid on to the runway and came to a stop within 200 meters. This is when my wife and I exited the aircraft."
In a telephone interview, the pilot reported the approach was shallow, made at 80 knots with reduced power, and he was trying to land on the numbers. The winds were from the west at 5 to 10 knots with occasional gusts to 15 knots. When he encountered the downdraft, and applied full power, he also pulled full aft on the control stick. In addition, there were no problems with the airplane.
An inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that the terrain leading to the approach end of runway 27 sloped down. The airplane impacted the terrain about 100 feet short of the runway, and 20 feet below the level of the runway. The airplane slid onto the runway and stopped 240 feet beyond the approach end. The landing gear was found at the initial ground impact point. Fuel was found in both wing tanks.
According to data from Airport Facility Directory, Runway 27 was 3,347 feet long, 50 feet wide, and had an asphalt surface. The landing threshold was displaced 250 feet.
The pilot reported his total flight experience as 1,100 hours, with 300 hours in airplanes. He had accumulated 110 hours in the Long-EZ, and flown it about 7 hours in the preceding 90 days.