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NTSB releases preliminary report of Dale Jr. plane crash

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NTSB releases preliminary report of Dale Jr. plane crash
By:
Aug 23, 2019, 8:07 PM

The pilots of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s plane tried a “go-around” after twice bumping on the Elizabethton (Tenn.) Municipal Airport but were unsuccessful.

The attempt by the pilots to attempt another landing was outlined in Friday’s preliminary accident report on the accident released by the National Transportation and Safety Board.

Earnhardt, his wife Amy, their daughter Isla, a family dog and two pilots all escaped serious injury when the Cessna 680A on which they were flying ran off the runway upon landing on Aug. 15.

Earnhardt was on his way to Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway to take part in NBC Sports’ broadcast of the weekend’s Cup and Xfinity series races at the track.

According to the report, surveillance video of the landing shows an initial touchdown near the runway ‘touchdown zone.’ The plane then bounced twice, continued down the runway until it touched down a third time with about 1,000 feet of paved surface remaining.

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“The video revealed the right main landing gear collapsed and the outboard section of the right wing contacted the runway shortly after the third touchdown,” the report said.

“The pilots’ account of the landing was generally consistent with the video. The pilots also reported that, following the second bounce, a go-around was attempted; however, the airplane did not respond as expected, so they landed straight-ahead on the runway and could not stop the airplane prior to the excursion.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. plane crash wreckage

Dale Earnhardt Jr. plane crash wreckage

Photo by: Jim Utter

The plane ran off the runway, across a grass field, down an embankment, up an embankment and tore into a chain link fence before coming to a rest alongside Tennessee Highway 91.

The aircraft was already on fire by the time it came to rest along the highway.

The NTSB said the plane’s cockpit voice recorder was damaged in the incident and sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory in Washington, D.C., for examination and download.

The NTSB has retained the wreckage for further evaluation.

You can read the complete report HERE.

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Author Jim Utter