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Frontier Airlines plane overshoots runway at Reagan airport near D.C., comes to a stop in the grass

A Frontier Airlines flight overshot the runway at Reagan International Airport near Washington, D.C., on Friday night before coming to a stop in a grassy area, according to reports. Frontier Flight 538 from Denver landed at 10:30 p.m. ET, according to FOX 5 in D.C. No injuries were reported. ( More...

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Maxwell Johnson 13
Re people arguing that the pilots were pressured into bad decision making by Frontier so as to stay on schedule: Yes, management IS always looking for ways to save time but I have flown for two major US carriers and we have NEVER been told to compromise safety in the interest of schedule-keeping. The occasional pilot may suffer an attack of get-there-itis but I've never felt the slightest pressure from management to save time at the expense of safety.
Torsten Hoff 7
Detailed video about the incident:
Brian Anderson 13
Last ADS-B hit has him doing 162 knots over the ground descending at 844 ft./min.

That seems at least little hot.
Alain Duncan 6
At what height? I get asked by atc to maintain 160 or better until short final all the time at busy airports. That descent rate is right on a 3 degree glide slope as well...
Brian Anderson 4
The last hit was at 100 ft. MSL which would be 84 ft. above the threshold. And yes, the speed and descent rate are right on the money for a 3 degree slope.
boughbw 6
Have you landed at DCA before? I can't speak from a pilot's perspective, but as a passenger, you're going faster than normal, hit the ground, and get thrown forward as they brake aggressively. That's one of the reasons I really love flying to DCA, with the others being its proximity to everything in DC and Metro stop at the airport.
srobak 5
agreed - approaching from the northwest is as visually appealing as much as it is hair-raising. Certainly one of the more spirited approaches in the US.
Ben Rich 0
Brian, approach speed is based on aircraft weight, not the airport so you are not going any faster at DCA than DFW for the same weights. I was based there for 10 years flying MD-80s and 737-800s. Yes, with 6,800 of runway, breaking is more aggressive than on 13,000 feet at DFW. Even with a wet runway, landing in the normal "touchdown zone" should allow plenty of room for stopping.
Brian Anderson 4
Yes, that's true. But if Vref wass 160 knots then that airplane was very seriously over it's max gross weight.

I'm guessing that's very unlikely.

I'm guessing it's more likely he was just going a little fast. Sure, you can get away Vref+30 on a 13,000 ft. runway every time.

Heck, looking at the pictures, he probably could have gotten away with it if that runway had been only 100 ft. longer!
Chris Habig 1
It may or may not be, depending on altitude and distance from the runway.
Lots of speculation here w/o a full NTSB report. In defence of the PIC, who's to say there wasn't braking and/or reverse thruster problems ??

The best thing in the end (LOTBS)--- no injury's, most likely no aircraft damage, and air-traffic back to normal within an acceptable time.
sharon bias 7
The scheduled arrival time for this flight was 9:52, so they were running late. And DCA has almost no flights between midnight and 6 am due to noise restrictions, so service staffing at the airport was already being reduced for the night. Corporate pressure for on-time performance isn't something that always makes it into reports, but most pilots have felt it at one point in their careers. We'll just have to read the final report.
F A 3
You can see the skid mark of the inboard left-hand main landing gear tire. No skid mark on the outboard tire. Any Airbus pilots out there have any info?
Torsten Hoff 9
Maybe MH370 can enlighten us, he's the expert on all things Airbus. Oh wait, he thinks Airbus aircraft are never involved in accidents...
Mike Hindson-Evans 3
Well, the incidents usually involve a French driver!
Selective quotation follows;
AF358 A340-313 Toronto long landing, ravine, fire; AUG2005;
AF449 A330-203 CFIO mid-Atlantic JUN2009
AF296 Early A320-111 Habsheim CFIF (controlled flight into forest) 26JUN1988.

Lessons are usually learned from every incident; let's hope that this is the case at DCA.
On this one at DCA, thank heavens for a run-off area.
Personally: if I walk away from it, it was a good landing.
It's entirely binary - survive or...
David Beattie 2
AF 447 tops all of the above for total lack of pilot ability.
George Pepe -2
This was pilot error. He wasn’t flying the plane correctly one way of the other. This accident is not airbus’ fault.

Frank Harvey 1
Hi George

Based on FA's comment (see beginning of this chain) is it possible there was a partial brake failure ? Just a speculation.
George Pepe 1
Hmm. That might be
John D 2
I've understood DCA isnt the easiest airport to takeoff or land from
patrick baker 10
not so difficult: they have identified lighted runways, predicted wind directions and velocities, adequate lengths, just like every other commercial airport. The FAA is a little fussy about flying over parts of the capitol, and the approach up the river is a bit demanding for precision, but all these things are reviewed in the descent and pre-landing check lists. Make your speeds, fly the glideslope, and all will be well.THis guy was perhaps somewhere out of that safe box. GO around, anyone????
Robert Cowling 4
That river approach is amazing!
George Pepe 1
I haven’t flow to DCA for a long time, but I would love to go back.
John D 1
I had intended to add more to my comment but tapped enter too soon (user issue).

Agreed on all your comments. I suspect it's less demanding approaching from the east as there is less restricted airspace, but since I just ride these contraptions and don't fly them, what do I know.

I used to live in the DC area and used DCA frequently and assumed there was only one major runway. I saw one or two reports where jet traffic was diverted to an alternate runway. I did not know there were other suitable runways for 737/A320 type aircraft at DCA.

Anyone have any info on what runway they were using?
Peter Fuller 2
FlightAware track log shows they landed on runway 1, so approached from the south and went into the grass at the far end near Gravelly Point Park. 1/19 is 7,169’, the longest and most-used runway at DCA.
Robert Cowling 1
There are three runways. I thought there was only one as well. Whether they all would/could accommodate a 737 class plane, *shrug*. I assume so if they were using them.
mary susan watkins 2
that does seem to happen periodically...its a good thing no one was hurt..
Atccfi 2
Great professionalism by the ground/tower controllers. Can’t be easy to change gears like that!
skyddog 2
Well, any landing you can get bussed away from is a _____ one. At least, the pilot tried to not take out the threshold lights and damage the gear by "swearing" into the grass.
bentwing60 1
missed it by, oops, that much! bet the TR's were screamin' till the end.
David Beattie 1
Agent 86!
ADXbear 2
These comments are funny.. would think he ran into the Potomac...
cyberjet 4
Please tell us you don’t work for Frontier, because if that’s their prevailing attitude toward safety …
Richard Witt 1
I was on a flight from Denver to DCA about 8 or 9 years ago when the pilot overshot but aborted the landing. Guess which airline?
George Pepe 2
One that doesn’t exist anymore. How would you over shoot the runway if you are doing a go around.
lc1948 1
Just got to terminal walking from mid-field after I bailed out like in movie "catch me if you can" when i knew plane was in trouble and no drag chute released......there's all kinds of critters living around runways i found out at night...
lc1948 1
Wow, i just got to terminal, i knew pilots were on trouble so I exited said aircraft like in movie with Tom Hanks chasing
The Dude 1
Shameful that the passengers had to wait over an hour to deplane. I wouldn’t blame anyone opening the emergency door and sliding off the plane. Airport should be ready to handle those cases swiftly.
OnTheAve 0
Why can't Fox get right the name of the airport. It is Reagan Washington National Airport or Reagan National for short. Locals prefer to call the airport National as it has been known along.
Bob Kamman 0
No injuries were reported? Pilots' pride doesn't count?
George Pepe 0
Should have gone around. They either didn’t brake very well or they took to long to touch down. How far was the overshoot?

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Peter Fuller 6
Seems a bit premature to call this incident a career ender. The investigation will disclose whether or not the pilots’ conduct during approach and landing warrants that. For sure they’ll get called on the carpet to explain.
exactly !!!
Robert Cowling 1
I meant to put a question mark on the end.

I'm sure they will go under a microscope, and the carrier, Frontier, will comb over all of it. I would assume that they landed long, and another comment said 'hot'. If any of that is true, and was also potentially aided by not setting the plane properly to land, it WILL likely be a career ending incident. Landing long is a mistake. Landing long on a short runway is a potential disaster. Coming in 'hot' is bad pilotage.

At some point before they hit the runway, the PIC *should* have known they were 'hot and long', and not realizing it, and not doing a 'free' go-around is a huge indication they weren't operating as a team, and weren't aware of their conditions, and made a bad call on not abandoning the landing. Read this incident in that context and this isn't a career positive. It's a potential danger sign that needs to be taken seriously.

It could have been worse, much worse.
George Pepe 2
No, suspension for a week or two while they investigate why it happened.
Silent Bob 3
Yeah, no. You obviously know not about what you speak.
Maxwell Johnson 4
True, Bob, another armchair pilot demonstrating his ignorance. These pilots are not going to lose their licenses and it is extremely unlikely that they will be fired unless it can be shown that they knowingly and willingly took action to cause the overrun. They will doubtless have unpleasant conversations with the chief pilot and some time in the simulator. When you "experts" have a mishap, you mutter under your breath and go to the kitchen for more coffee. When those of us who actually drive these things for a living have aa mishap, we are first to arrive at the scene.


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