Small Bizjet Crashes into Maryland House while on Approach at Gaithersburg

20141208.. [KGAI] bizjet crashsite pic

(Washington Post photo)

A small jet reportedly crashed into a house, roughly one mile northwest of the Montgomery County Airpark [KGAI], in Gaithersburg, MD. The aircraft appears to have been on final approach to land on Runway 14. The aircraft owner and apparent pilot was the 66-yr-old CEO of Health Decisions, a North Carolina-based pharmaceutical research company. He and his two passengers are confirmed dead. Three home occupants were also killed; a 36-yr-old mother and her 3-yr-old son and infant were initially missing but later found deceased in a bathroom of the house. Weather was likely not a factor. News reports indicate visibility was good and there were only light snow flurries.

A Washington Post article offers witness reports, of a low-flying jet with landing gear down, flying somewhat erratically, then rotating ninety degrees and falling from the sky. The plane, an Embraer Phenom 100 jet, was registered with Sage Aviation in Chapel Hill, NC. It was on final approach, about a mile northwest of the airport. One house was destroyed and two others were damaged. The ground fatalities occurred at the last house hit by aircraft debris – a wing that started a fire.

Here’s a satellite view of the area, with a yellow ellipse around the airport. Note the numerous residential areas, to the southwest, west, and northeast. Also, the large park between the northwest end of the runway and the crash area. For reference, the runway is 4,200-feet long.[KGAI] sat view showing surrounding residences, parks, commerce
Below is a briefing by NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt, one day later. A preliminary review of flight data shows the aircraft was as slow as 88 knots airspeed while on approach; an online search indicates the VSO (minimum safe speed) may be much higher, around 100 knots. Sumwalt also confirmed a ‘stall warning’ was annunciated continuously during the entire final twenty seconds of flight.


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UPDATED 12/9/2014