Bi-plane Crashes at DCA, Airport Shutdown

Photo courtesy of
‘Bristol F2 fighter’
courtesy of ‘Rob the moment’

As part of a demonstration, 8 antique bi-planes were to land at Washington National today as part of their tour of the US. Divided into two squadrons of four, the planes were to land, refuel, and then depart around 3:30 this afternoon headed for their next destination.

One of the planes, however, crashlanded on approach today, flipping the plane over on Runway 1. The passengers are okay, but emergency crews are acting at the site, and trying to move the plane now, which has caused the airport to shutdown to all incoming and outgoing flights while they handle the issue.

National has one of the most difficult approaches in the world, due to the short runway and the constrained airspaces, which may have influenced this crash.

The Post has a fascinating blurb on the incident, which includes a notable byline: the article was written by the passenger of the plane that just crashed. Whew. That’s a little intense, no?

I live and work in the District of Columbia. I write at We Love DC, a blog I helped start, I work at Technolutionary, a company I helped start, and I’m happy doing both. I enjoy watching baseball, cooking, and gardening. I grow a mean pepper, keep a clean scorebook, and wash the dishes when I’m done. Read Why I Love DC.

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3 thoughts on “Bi-plane Crashes at DCA, Airport Shutdown

  1. While National has a difficult approach, but to describe it as “one of the most difficult” is false. There are many more challenging approaches to shorter runways served by airliners. The runway, and approach are not at all difficult for a light aircraft.

  2. I think “one of the most difficult” over-sells it a little. DCA’s approach is very regimented because of the restrictions on flight but it’s nothing terribly out of the ordinary for a pilot. The most significant feature is one that would be irrelevant for a small aircraft like the bi-plane: the 7000ft runway.

    That’s short in a commercial carrier but it’s 2000 feet longer than the longest runways at the general aviation (ie, hobbist) airport I used to live near in Miami, Kendall-Tamiami Executive. Those tail-dragger bi-planes were meant to – and still do – land on grass runways.

    I called my father – the pilot in the family – and asked and he confirmed that those planes would be equipped with brakes in the front wheels (the tail is free-wheeling like a grocery-cart wheel) and that it would be very possible for the operator to brake too heavily and cause it to go nose-down.

    Or it could be caused by some other issue or mistake, though the pictures on WUSA don’t make it look like it did any amount of real travel when it went nose-down. So it’s unlikely it was moving at any real speed.

  3. I agree with the commenters above, ‘one of the most difficult’ is an overstatement. Pilots describes the ‘river visual’ approach to DCA as interesting not difficult. This, of course, is irrelevant to a plane of this size – there’s more than enough landing space for the biplane, 6,869 feet of runway to be exact. We’re just thankful no one was hurt in this incident.