March 19, Manassas, Va. / Piper Turbo Arrow


At about 19:00 eastern time, a Piper PA-28-RT201 crashed on approach to runway 34R at Manassas Regional Airport, killing the pilot. The pilot reported on right base for landing, but controllers lost contact after that. Radar data showed the airplane flew a base leg that would have resulted in a six-mile final, then turned left, away from the runway, and continued the turn 270 degrees so it was inbound again. The ground track roughly corresponded to the GPS Runway 34 approach, even though the flight was being made VFR in visual conditions. The airplane then passed directly over the final approach fix at 1,600 feet until it began a descent 2.3 miles from the runway. When it was 1.1 miles out, it descended through 600 feet and disappeared from radar. Its average descent rate was 1,200 fpm. The pilot had more than 2,100 hours total time. Before his biennial flight review in October 1999, he had not flown for nearly five years. In the four and a half months before the accident, the pilot had logged 10 hours.


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