Grand Am over shoots runway @ TIW


Seattle Times

Men in trouble for driving on Pierce County airport runway

KING 5 news staff

Police say it appears the two, in their early 20s, had been drinking as they jumped in the car and took it for a spin in a place they shouldn’t have.

Both are believed to be employees of the Tacoma Narrows Airport, so they had the authorization to be there, but that privilege was abused.

“One or both occupants of the car already had access to the airport, so this is in no way tied to terrorist activity or breach of homeland security,” said Corey Darlington of the Tacoma Police Dept.

But doing what they did could cost them their jobs.

A security guard at the airport says the Pontiac Grand Am must have been going at least 100 miles an hour down the runway.

“They drove their car to the south end of the runway. They then drove their car to the north end at an extremely high rate of speed,” said Darlington.

That’s when something went wrong and the driver lost control.

The car went flying off the tarmac, through a field for roughly 100 yards, then flew about 60 feet in the air, slammed into the side of a hill, and rolled to the bottom.

The passenger suffered a fractured leg. The driver had some bumps and bruises.

Both men were taken to Tacoma General Hospital.

Police say the driver most likely will face some type of criminal charge for being out on the runway, and the FAA could step in and investigate.


You bet!

That’s 85 knots! Wow!

Vr for a car must be 100 mph. They probably “took off” on runway 35. HERE is the google satellite pic of TIW.

I wonder if this will show up as a preliminary.

Moral of this story… (actually two)

Don’t drink and drive.
Don’t try to fly a car.



Good one! :laughing:

I first started taking lessons in the Army with the Ft. Lewis Flying Club at GRF. We always went to TIW to do touch-n-goes. Nice view of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (A.K.A. “Galloping Gertie”). This was the famous bridge that collapsed in high winds because of design flaws in 1940. The bridge was rebuilt in 1950 and still stands today.


They will open the new one this year.

TIW is a bit like a carrier landing in small plane. Salt water + 300ft cliff + runway.


I’ve NEVER raced a car on the runway…nooo…that wold be unsafe and silly.

For the record, depending on the car, 3500ft is the approximate accelerate/stop distance for about 80mph. From zero-80mph-zero.


So what kind of car did you have?

It wasn’t that long ago that most runways were accessible from the street. I would have never thought of such a crazy idea back then. :unamused:

I picture these two airport employees being alot like the two that shot the video of the Citation overshooting the runway in Atlantic City.


Let’s see what cars have been “runway tested”…
1984 Honda Prelude. Check.
1987 Saab 9000 Turbo. Check.
Buddy’s father’s then-late model Corvette. Check.
1989 Ford Probe Turbo. Check.
Buddy’s 2003 Ford Mustang
Buddy’s 1999 Ford Mustang
1999 Saab 9-3 Turbo. Check.

How do YOU check the braking action in the winter!?? :laughing:


Since we’re playing “just for the record,” let it be known that the Tacoma Narrows bridge was not ripped apart directly by the high winds. It just so happened that the wind velocity at the time was “exactly right” to create a resonance vibration that tore the bridge apart.

…I just LOVE the opportunity to pull those high school and college Physics lessons out of my…brain. :wink: