Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Letters To The Editor: An airport with many neighbors - Montgomery County Airpark (KGAI), Gaithersburg, Maryland

“First came the airpark . . .” is the response often proffered when neighbors complain about the Montgomery County Airpark [“Suburban sprawl swallowed airpark,” front page, Dec. 15]. Many seem to neglect the fact that it was the airport that brought jet airplanes to the neighborhood. Jets — such as the one involved in a Dec. 8 crash — came after the houses.

I have lived near the airpark for more than 25 years. It used to host biplanes and, on occasion, a hot-air balloon or two. I once woke up to find an errant balloonist had landed outside my bedroom window. The neighbors gathered with their coffee to watch.

Jets don’t land outside your bedroom window. 

Move the jets to Frederick Municipal Airport.

We may find out pilot error caused the Dec. 8 crash, but burning jet fuel made it a tragedy. 

Montgomery County should rethink the airpark.

John Moran, Laytonsville

The article “Suburban sprawl swallowed airpark” quoted a former Air Force tower controller saying that the Embraer EMB-500/Phenom 100 “banked too sharply, losing lift, and crashed directly down.”

The Dec. 10 Metro article “Plane pitched and rolled before hitting house” stated that the flight recorder warned the pilot for 20 seconds of an imminent stall because the aircraft was moving too slowly. 

Twenty seconds is a very long time in a plane for a warning.

If the pilot did bank sharply and the plane stalled, the plane would have crashed within seconds.

Perhaps the pilot had a medical emergency during landing, such as a heart attack or stroke.

James Blasic, Potomac

- Source:

NTSB Identification: DCA15MA029
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, December 08, 2014 in Gaithersburg, MD
Aircraft: EMBRAER EMB-500, registration: N100EQ
Injuries: 6 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On December 8, 2014, about 1041 Eastern Standard Time (EST), an Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100, N100EQ, impacted terrain and houses about 0.75 miles short of runway 14 while on approach to Montgomery County Airpark (GAI), Gaithersburg, Maryland. The airline transport rated pilot and two passengers were fatally injured as well as three persons on the ground. The airplane was destroyed during the impact and ensuing fire. Marginal visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and the flight was operating on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. The airplane was registered to and operated by Sage Aviation LLC., of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The flight originated from Horace Williams Airport (IGX), Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with GAI as its intended destination.

 (The audio was posted by news helicopter pilot Brad Freitas)

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