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September 19, 2011
A World War II-era fighter plane crashed at an air race in Reno, Nevada, over the weekend, killing nine people. Amongst the wreckage of that devastating aviation accident, investigators now say they’ve recovered memory cards and pieces of a video camera that may be from the plane’s recording devices.
“This is very significant for the accident investigation," said National Transportation Safety Board member Mark Rosekind during a news conference on Sunday.
Known as “The Galloping Ghost,” the modified P-51 Mustang was piloted on Friday, September 16, by a 74-year-old male who Reuters reports had worked as a stunt pilot in films. In preparation for the races, the pilot had removed 10 feet from the length of his plane, in addition to other modifications.
Before the pilot could even make a distress call, the plane suddenly tilted nose-down into the tarmac at the 48th Annual National Air Championship Races. Eight people on the ground were killed, and more than 50 others were taken to local hospitals with injuries.
Of especial interest to investigators is the plane’s tail. Not only does a photo of the plane just before the crash appear to show part of the tail falling off, but investigators believe they may have found a piece of the tail more than a mile from the crash site.
Rosekind hopes that the plane’s memory cards will yield information about oil pressure, oil temperature, altitude, velocity, and latitude and longitude.
Investigators will also review the Reno Air Races’ safety protocol.
Do you think air shows and air races are safe enough?
If you or someone you know has had their safety compromised on a commercial or private aircraft, the aviation lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy can help.
PHOTO SOURCE: NEW YORK TIMES
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