Pilot injured after small plane makes emergency landing near Dulles

A small plane made an emergency landing short of the runway Tuesday afternoon near Dulles International Airport.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said in a statement Tuesday evening that at about 4:40 p.m., the pilot of a single-wing 1977 Cessna radioed air traffic control at Dulles to say he’d had an engine failure and wasn’t going to make it to the runway. Virginia State Police identified the pilot as Aaron Adams, 28, of Texas. He was the only person on the plane.

Adams was flying from New Jersey to Dulles and landed north of the airport. He tried an emergency landing on a strip of private property on the 21500 block of Megawatt Drive in Ashburn. He was able to land but did not have enough space to stop, and he struck a dirt embankment, state police said. There was no fire, and Adams was treated for minor injuries.

The crash site is on the sprawling campus of a data center with several buildings and a nearby elementary school, said WTOP’s Dick Uliano, who reported from the scene.

Before darkness fell, the plane could be seen on a narrow embankment, its belly burrowed into the soft ground.

A small plane crashed in Loudoun County, Virginia, on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. (Courtesy Loudoun County Fire and Rescue)

The airports authority added that the airport was running as usual. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation and Safety Board have been notified.

WTOP’s Dick Uliano reported from Ashburn, Virginia. 

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2012 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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