Plane crash in Gaithersburg kills six people

Type of plane: Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100, N100EQ. Credit: Mike Barker via Flickr
Type of plane: Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100, N100EQ. Credit: Mike Barker via Flickr

When Dr. Michael J. Rosenberg died in a plane crash in Gaithersburg on Monday, he left behind an ex-wife and two children whose involvement in the area’s Jewish community remained a mystery as of press time.

Rosenberg owned and piloted the Embraer EMB-500/Phenom 100 twin-engine jet that also killed two passengers and three local residents on the ground when the plane crashed into a house. The flight originated in Chapel Hill, N.C., and crashed on approach to Montgomery County Airpark.

He was the founder and CEO of North Carolina-based Health Decisions, a clinical research organization. In a statement, Health Decisions vice president of clinical affairs Patrick Phillips said that “everyone at Health Decisions is devastated by the loss of our friend and colleague Michael Rosenberg. The thoughts of the management and employees of Health Decisions go out to Dr. Rosenberg’s family as well as to the families of the other passengers. We can best honor Michael by carrying on and realizing his vision of a more efficient approach to clinical development. We are committed to that goal.”

His ex-wife Ellen Ruina is a resident of Washington, D.C. Children Zachary and Caroline Rosenberg also live in the D.C. area.

Baltimore Jewish Times Editor-in-Chief Joshua Runyan is a commercial pilot and flight instructor who formerly ran a flight school in Florida. While the NTSB is investigating the cause of the crash, he speculates that pilot error is the likely reason.

“I would say any time you have an abrupt loss of control on a straight-in approach it’s probably pilot error,” said Runyan. He said it was likely an “aerodynamic stall,” a disruption of the air flow over the wings that impedes the ability of the wings to produce lift, the force that keeps the plane in the air.

Runyan said possibilities for the aerodynamic stall could include reports that the pilot was trailing a Cessna 172 single engine plane, which lands at a much slower speed, and reports that there were birds in the vicinity. If a bird was ingested into the left engine, said Runyan, an engine failure could have resulted, much like the downing of US Airways Flight 1549 in New York’s Hudson River.

“These planes, however, are designed so that a pilot should be able to recover from the loss of an engine, even at low altitude,” said Runyan.

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  1. I don’t know anyone involved but very surprised that the editor of the baltimore jewish times (and I’ve been a subscriber for 50 years) would go out on a limb and make these kinds of comments when the ntsb has not come out with a statement…maybe stick to running the Jewish Times which has its own issues lately…


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