Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Old biplane flips over while landing in D.C.

Local pilots not involved in crash

Tuesday, June 08, 2010
By Anthony Fenech, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A Stearman biplane traveling to Washington, D.C., flipped over this morning on the main runway of Ronald Reagan National Airport.

Ron Gorr, one of four Pittsburgh-area pilots making the trip for the "Legends of Flight" IMAX movie premiere, said the plane belongs to a Virginia pilot.

CBS is reporting that the 1943 airplane is registered to Michael Truschel of Nokesville, Va.

Mr. Gorr said no one was hurt in the crash, which occurred just after 10 a.m. Onboard was the pilot and a Washington Post reporter.

Mr. Gorr, a pilot from Mt. Lebanon, said that as he flew his Stearman toward the airport, he heard an unusual request from air traffic control.

"The tower told us to go to another runway," Mr. Gorr said. "But we didn't see anything. The weather has been good and it's beautiful here."

After landing, he found out why he had been diverted.

Mr. Gorr was traveling in a group of five pilots and arrived later than another group of three that included the airplane that crashed.

"After we taxied in and shut down, we heard about it," he said.

Asked to speculate on a cause of the accident, Mr. Gorr said, "The only thing I can think of is maybe he hit the brakes by mistake. If you suddenly hit it, the back end can come up. That or maybe his brakes locked up. I really don't know."

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