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A vintage Boeing Stearman biplane flipped upside down after landing on Runway 1 at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday morning. The pilot and one passenger, a reporter for the Washington Post, both walked away, apparently unhurt, but the runway was shut down for over an hour until the airplane could be removed by a crane. The Stearman was one of a flight of eight vintage aircraft that were flying into Washington to promote a new aviation-themed Imax film showing at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. In a pair of videos posted online, one from inside the cockpit and one from the ground, it appears that the airplane nosed over almost immediately upon touching down. The pilot, Mike Treschel, and passenger Ashley Halsey got out very quickly. The NTSB sent a team to investigate the incident.
Doug Freeman, a spokesman for the film company, told the Washington Post that it was believed the Stearman "picked up more of a crosswind than was expected" and overturned. However, according to NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson, the wind was pretty much "straight down the runway." The pilot at first was cleared to land on Runway 33, Knudson told AVweb, with winds from 360 at 15 knots. Treschel then requested a change to Runway 1, which should have minimized the crosswind component. Knudson said the pilot told NTSB investigators that he "tapped on the brakes" at touchdown. Knudson noted that the investigation is ongoing and the pilot will be talked to again in more detail, with a probable-cause report to follow. Damage to the airplane was "substantial," Knudson added, with a bent prop and damage to the vertical stabilizer, the top of the wing, and the nose.