Local Pilot believes weather condition and human error caused Pence's plan to skid off runway

Rain and strong tailwinds also possible factors
Posted at 5:48 PM, Oct 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-28 17:48:57-04

The ABC Action News I-Team heard from a pilot who says the National Transportation Safety Board should be asking a lot of questions right now about why Pence's plane skidded off the runway.

Chris Pezalla is a licensed pilot, a flight instructor and a recent graduate of Stetson Law School.

He used to fly daily out of LaGuardia, and says the incident with Pence's plane shouldn't  have happened.

In heavy rain and strong tailwinds, the Trump-Pence plane came in for a hard landing last night.

“We just immediately felt heavy braking on the runway. The plane fishtailed a little bit,” said Republican Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence.

“Air traffic control had put planes on the runway with a tail wind,” said Pezalla. “And I think they were doing that for efficiency, but it set up the situation.”

Pezalla believes conditions were deteriorating and the pilot came in too fast.

“Why was this aircraft moving at that kind of speed at the end of the runway? You've got seven thousand feet to use,” he said.

The plane plowed into what's called an arrestor system, which is a lightweight, crushable concrete pad designed to stop the plane.

“Just for a few seconds, you could feel us bouncing off, with mud splattered off the windows. We figured we were off the runway,” said Pence.

 At a press conference at LaGuardian Airport late Friday afternoon, an NTSB spokesperson confirmed the plane skidded 200 feet past the end of the runway.  

“Without the arresting system, this would have been substantial. I think there would have been damage to the aircraft,” said Pezalla.

“Beyond that pad that grabbed the airplane, there's a fence, an embankment and a service road. Then it goes to a major highway from there,” he said.

Pence and the other passengers were fine.

The campaign continued, barely missing a beat.

Pence talked about his close call on multiple network morning shows Friday morning.

“Every landing you walk away from is a good one,” Pence said on ABC’s Good Morning America show Friday morning.  

“I think it was a good outcome as far as the occurrence. It's just a matter of saying ok, how do we prevent this in the future,” said Pezalla.

NTSB investigators have recovered both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder, sending them to Washington for analysis.

They're focused on three areas: the crew, potential mechanical problems, and the weather last night.

If you have a story you’d like the I-Team to investigate, contact us at