Plane lost power twice before crashing in Herndon last month

June 14, 2013

The Cessna 177 crashed on May 31, 2013, in Herndon, Va. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

The small plane that crashed in Herndon last month lost power twice before smashing through the roof of an apartment building, according to a preliminary report filed by federal investigators.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s initial report says that the single-engine Cessna 177 had been out taking aerial photographs around Gaithersburg, Frederick and Philadelphia and was heading to Manassas Regional Airport when the crash occurred.

Investigators said the plane’s pilot, his passenger and one resident of the apartment building were injured in the crash.

The report states that the pilot and passenger saw that the plane’s fuel gauges showed different levels of fuel before determining that they could make it to Manassas. Shortly after midnight, the plane’s engine lost power, and the pilot asked air traffic control if he could make an emergency landing at Dulles International Airport. While they were able to restore power briefly on the plane, it lost power again before hitting the building.

A final report will be issued in about a year, according to Eric Weiss, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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Mark Berman · June 14, 2013