Skip to comments.Police Say Nine Killed in Deadly Crash at Reno Air Show, as Probe Focuses on Wayward Part
Posted on 09/17/2011 6:31:59 PM PDT by Ron C.
RENO, Nev. The death toll in the crash of a World War II-era plane during a Reno air race rose to nine people Saturday as investigators combed through wreckage and scoured amateur video clips to determine why the aircraft suddenly spiraled out of control and plummeted to the ground near hundreds of spectators.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/09/17/federal-investigators-looking-into-what-caused-deadly-crash-at-air-show/#ixzz1YGNn9wu6
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
I could not capture that frame for display here.
I is terrible to see so many deaths at this race. I am a avid plane lover. WWII birds the best.
This was a horrible accident.
The Pilot from what i have read was and expert aviator.
From what i have read from experts the pilot actually performed a manuver during the crash to save the grandstand and hundreds of lives.
It seems lately that there have been a lot of mishaps at these air shows in recent times.
Very dangerous stunts involved.
I’m thinking i’ll just watch this crazy stuff on tv on my couch and just hope a camera lens doesn’t come crashing through my roof.
I’m no real expert but it appears to be a broken trim tab. But whatever broke that could be indicative of a bigger unseen malfunction.
I don’t know if they are hydraulic or mechanical.
Do we have any experts on these modernized P51’s?
I will add a good friend of my hubby’s died at that race years ago.
I should hope so.
I have a question.
Proper Trim on a plane means that when you take your hands and feet off the controls the plane will fly flat and straight.
I think. :)
If he lost his trim (If it’s even what i am thinking) Wouldn’t and expert such as the pilot just compensate for it?
Another theory i read is he took the corner so tight and fast he may have blacked out momentarily.
Prayers for all involved.
I read that... he indeed did all he could to save others.
Wow...that’s a convenient piece of evidence.
North American P-51 Mustang NX79111 The Galloping Ghost
Perhaps forward speed was simply not enough after that climb to push the tail down to avoid the crash. So sad...
From building R/C planes I know that poor aerodynamics on the elevator can cause it to flutter and self destruct. I wonder if the trim piece caused the damage or was a symptom?
“avid plane lover” - me too, grew up around many...
Thanks for that, 50mm!
If he lost his trim (If its even what i am thinking) Wouldnt and expert such as the pilot just compensate for it?
Probably. I'm not sure how a P-52 works, but the tab may have been a control tab. Loss of a control tab (especially low to the ground) could make moving the elevators very difficult...or impossible.
My fave is the p-51 right after the SR-71 Blackbird.
If the tab failed as it appeared to do the pilot would encounter a sudden aft stick force. I have never flown a P-51 so I don’t know what the control forces are like in that aircraft.
I could be wrong (and someone tell me if I am) but those planes are high performance, operating at the edge...traveling at that speed, that close to the ground and losing a trim tab probably makes the plane just a tad unstable.
That is way too big to be a trim tab. I have never worked on a P-51, but the size is right to be a servo tab. A trim tab would be about 1/10 the size of that tab if it were trim.
Servo tabs control the entire elevator, the idea is to keep stick forces manageable across a large speed range.
If possible, I think you're supposed to pull up for altitude, out of the race and try to figure things out. But, if the elevator's gone or if just one side is functional or asymmetrical?
Agree. I’ve been reading across the web and have found “experts” who say the P-51 doesn’t use servo tabs and other that swear there are servo tabs on the P-51...
You may have hit on the cause, methinks.
The trim is just a micro adjustment to compensate for cross winds so the pilot doesn’t have to constantly adjust the controls to maintain a constant heading.
I don’t know if the plane used hydraulic, cables or what. If it is cables, a snapped cable could wrap around, jam, or freeze controls.
I’m just guessing. Usually something like this isn’t caused by one thing but several failures (Murphy’s Law).
Thanks for that info!
A few years ago my wife and I were at the Reno Air Races. We were sitting high in the stands and she was pointing down to the box seats, wondering how we could get seats down there in front. Now she knows they're VIP seats, and after this crash she says the high seats are close enough. Saddened to see so many serious injuries. Nothing like seeing it live, but fear this is the end of the shows.
Sooo... it could be we see a broken servo tab - and so broken, would prevent elevator control... very likely why he could not pull the plane out of the dive.
Been pretty fun so far!
My new baby. Just got her 2 nights ago.
He could compensate for a small loss of trim, but may not have the strength to compensate foor a large loss. Remember too that the plane was moving fast just above the ground, with little time to react.
I'm terribly sorry to hear that. I just learned this morning that two co-workers and their families are among the seriously injured, and I pray that none are among the dead, because specific information is unavailable to us at this time.
The trim is just a micro adjustment to compensate for cross winds so the pilot doesnt have to constantly adjust the controls to maintain a constant heading.
This was an elevator tab.
I just looked up design info on the Mustang. It is, indeed, a trim tab. But it would still cause a huge shift in control force, to the point of not being able to control pitch after it departed the aircraft.
“In the case of some aircraft the servo tab is the only control that is connected to the pilot’s stick or wheel”
Wonder if that was the case in this P-51. There are obviously significant modifications from the original design. If his was built that way,, he would have lost control when the tab separated.
The color is "Tinted Metallic Candy Red". And yeah, the absolute beauty of this car brought a tear to my eye when I first saw it.
Well,, really we keep calling it a “P-51”. But in many ways, thats about like calling a NASCAR racer a “Chevy”. That is such a custom built machine that they could have chosen any type of control system for the elevators that they liked best for racing.
At least it sounds like we are sure to get an answer. The team knows what was on it, and the photos of the damage will explain a lot. That place has more professional photgraphers per square foot than we can guess.
There are likely to be some incredibly detailed photos of the crippled plane still to emerge for investigators.
But in many ways, thats about like calling a NASCAR racer a Chevy.
Read Chuck Yeagars book , he did post war testing in the P-51.
During the war polits were losing the aircraft in dives for some (then ) unknown reason.
Chuck found himself in a dive which the elevators had no effect. The faster he went the more the aircraft pitched forward,thus going faster and trying to tuck under.
He deployed flap and then the landing gear , which slowed him down enough to gain control of the Aircraft. (He lost the gear doors and stressed one main landing gear strut rearwards a couple of inches)
IT was determined that as the aircraft went faster the center of gravity (lift) moved back along the wing (airfoil) causing a pitch down.
In this case flying the aircraft in the speed range, the trim tabs are more effective that the elevator itself. If he lost the trim tab, he lost control of the entire aircraft
You know, one thing that we should all remember. This seems shocking and unbelievably violent. This was fun,,a sport more expensive than Polo.
But when our guys flew them in WWII, incidents like this happened every single day. We lost FAR more fliers in WWII to accidents than to enemy action.
And often,, people on the ground were killed too. We see the video of the fighters blazing away at each other over Europe. More times than can be counted, 109s, Thunderbolts, 190s, Mustangs, etc SLAMMED onto a city street,,wildly out of control. As we mourn this pilot and those nice people who just went out for a fun day, we should stop and remember, what we saw at the airshow was a small taste of the violent lives those planes lived. And what those men went through.
When you see the close up of the aftermath there in the box seats, with the severed limbs, and fragmented bodies,,,. See it as an inside look at a flight deck a minute after a Kamakaze hit.
We should chase the Glen Miller tunes out of our heads,
and remember the violent truth about those machines. And then,,, next September, play the music and go race them again.
I noticed in the high resolution images prior to impact that the tail was not retracted and that you could not see the pilot’s head in the cockpit. The pilot’s head was easily seen in the images prior to the race.
I wondered why his head wasn’t visible too. No idea if it should have been visible in that racing style cockpit. And why was the tailwheel down? Is there any chance that the force of the violent maneuver could have ripped it out of the retracted position?
I would assume the seat harness would have kept the pilot upright in the seat, but what if the entire seat frame broke loose and slid backwards in the cockpit? I know nothing about the design of the cockpit. Just speculating. Is the seat on rails and is it pushed back at the start of the race? The pilot is clearly forward in the cockpit before the race.
Compare cockpit in these two photos.
Wow,,,interesting to compare.
visible in cockpit at taxi:
not visible prior to crash:
Same question here... Could the pilot engage the rear landing gear separately, perhaps to induce drag and thus compensating for instability in the elevator? Curious...