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Apr 30, 2011 7:42 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Plane Blown Off East Hampton Airport Runway

May 3, 2011 4:34 PM

A small airplane blew off the runway at East Hampton Airport on Saturday afternoon, but no injuries were reported, airport officials said.

The single-engine Cessna with two people on board was landing at the airport’s main runway, heading west, shortly after 4 p.m. when it ran approximately 182 feet off the runway, onto a grass field.

A press release issued by East Hampton Town on Monday described the incident as “clearly minor,” stating that a strong gust of wind out of the north caused the plane to drift off the runway to the south as it was landing.

The pilot, a woman from Bridgehampton, did not return a call to her home this week. Her passenger lives in Manhattan. They had taken off from East Hampton Airport earlier in the day, although there was information available about how long they were gone or how long the plane had been airborne.

Assistant Airport Manager Matthew O’Brien, who was on duty at the time of the incident, said the plane’s landing gear collapsed in the accident and there was significant damage to the plane. The plane had just landed, was not traveling at a high speed and had its wheels down for a while, he said.

“There was no prior warning or difficulty,” Mr. O’Brien said. “We saw the aircraft go off the runway and responded immediately.”

An East Hampton Town Police report stated the plane hit a small embankment after it left the runway and sustained damage to its propeller, front landing gear, left wing tip and left horizontal stabilizer.

“We’ve had a couple aircraft go off the runway” because of brake failures, said Airport Manager Jim Brundige, who was not at the airport when the accident occurred, “but always off the end of the runway, never off to the side like this.”

Town officials were careful to stress in the press release that the incident occurred far away from the proposed site of a large two-day music festival slated for August at the airport, which the Town Board approved last month. The festival, which is expected to take place in a field to the south of a decommissioned runway, has yet to receive approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

After the plane left the runway, it remained within the “runway object free zone” or ROFA, a safety zone established by the FAA, according to the press release.

“The aircraft stopped inside the ROFA and well outside even the farthest of several layers of perimeter fencing proposed for the concert venue,” the press release stated. “The accident was not a threat to the proposed concert venue.”

According to the town, the accident was the only one of its kind to occur during Mr. Brundige’s seven years as airport manager. “It would be misleading to read anything more into this incident than a one-time unusual incident,” the press release stated.

A FAA safety inspector was at the scene on Saturday.

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Crosswind? This illustrates the necessity for repairing and reopening Runway 4-22 for use by light planes.
By M. O'Connor (147), Southampton on May 2, 11 9:14 AM
Yes. 4-22 must be repaired.
No. A rock concert with close to 10,000 people on one of the busiest weekends of the year should not be staged merely yards from where that plane departed the runway.
By Solusipse (8), Sagaponack on May 2, 11 10:42 AM
"Merely yards"? Try 1000 feet. Using your logic, the pre-school on Industrial Road should be closed down because it is as close to the main runway as the concert site. In fact you can see the clearing where the school is in one of the pictures. The concert will be great.
By hohum123 (91), springs on May 8, 11 1:07 AM
Wow. This has SETUP written all over it.
By okgo (2), sag harbor on May 2, 11 3:17 PM
I liked hohums logic . . . odds are 50 - 2 logiic vs. Solusipe from Sagaponack -- and M. O'Connor is right on the mark . . . Am waiting - the next comment might be Arthur French in disguise or the "Imagainstits"!!! "Setup"? .... from Sag? Funny.
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on May 10, 11 8:18 PM
The school's being built off the end of an airport runway is not an ideal situation by any stretch of the imagination. Those familiar with the history of the airport know that the Town of East Hampton gave away quite a bit of airport real estate over a number of years to get around federal regulations (the airport was built in the '30's via a Federal WPA program) stipulating that airport land should only be used for aviation purposes. Airport opponents often cite the existence of the school in ...more
By M. O'Connor (147), Southampton on May 12, 11 8:59 AM
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