Skip to comments.Reno Race Accident Investigation Continues
Posted on 09/19/2011 7:18:13 AM PDT by PilotDave
The NTSB has recovered 'components' which may be part of the P-51's horizontal stab and elevator... possibly even the elevator trim tab, which is a specified point of inquiry (as noted in previous ANN reports).
The NTSB has received a significant amount of photographic and video evidence -- some of which show the process whereby the elevator trim tab separated from the horizontal stabilizer.
There is no evidence of the much-reported 'Mayday' call.
We are hearing a number of calls for additional regulation and FAA supervision... despite the fact that this is the first time in nearly 60 years that a spectator at an American aviation event has been killed. A quick perusal of a number of road racing events shows dozens of people/spectators killed as a result of their attendance at such exciting activities (and just in the last few years!)... there are spectator tragedies on record, as well, involving boat races, motorcycle races, BICYCLE races, sled races, ski races, horse races, you name it.
(Excerpt) Read more at aero-news.net ...
In 1962 I had an employer who flew P51 in war, he bought one and was testing it - down it went. After all was said and done, many war flyers said -”It is a great plane unless it loses power or control then it drops - does not glide.” I don’t know much about this accident, but those words kept ringing in my head as I thought of a great guy lost in a P51.
Definitely something hanging loose on the P-51's left elevator assembly.
Just don’t let ancient equipment fly at shows, that should solve the issue. And I do mean the plane, not the pilot.
That is the best photo I’ve seen showing the plane just prior to impact. There are some photo shopped one floating around.
It resembles a P-51 but it is NOT a P-51.
Kind of like a Volkswagen.
It’s fun to drive when it’s running.
It is a P-51, but not in original condition.
The 65-year-old “Galloping Ghost” underwent years of massive overhauls that took a full 10 feet off its wingspan. The ailerons the back edges of the main wings used to control balance were cut from about 60 inches to 32.
Pilot Jimmy Leeward had said the changes made the P-51 Mustang faster and more maneuverable, but in the months before Friday’s crash even he wasn’t certain exactly how it would perform.
Define ancient? Who decides? These planes get millions spent on them to modify them and inspect every square inch. In the world of motorsports when you are pushing thing hard, stuff breaks sometimes. The only true answer for 100% safety is to chain all airplanes to the ground and put little bits of foam on all the sharp edges.
A good friend was an acrobatic pilot and flew a lot of WWII birds - I flew with him in an SNJ and we did fun aerobatics in it.
But these old birds are so old that they are well known for being accidents waiting to happen in spite of perfect maintenance.
My friend went in in a P-38 (Jeff Ethyll - Google him - great prolific aviation author) which his dad flew all through WWII, and both his parents and wife saw the fire from the crash over the trees. Tragic.
But the investigation said the cause was his unfamiliarity with the weird quirks of the plane even though he was certified to fly it.
No question in my mind the Reno accident was mechanical failure, not pilot error.....an old old bird souped up with lotsa hours on it. Undetectable metal fatigue is almost eventually inevitable with these planes.....
Also, didn't a B-17 crash recently which was also said to be due to structual failure?
I think you will find that many of these planes are maintained to some very exact specifications. Do just a little bit of homework.
I know that...it’s heavily modified for racing.
It is a P-51 but has been modified with some cooling features, etc for racing, thus no undercarriage intake. It also has a slimmed canopy as well as shorter wings.
It is a P-51, sort of. It started life as a P-51 (P-51D-NA-15, if I remember what I read correctly) but was modified as a racer on several occasions. The last set of modifications was almost a complete rebuild, clipping the wings drastically, removing the existing cooling system for water and oil and adding one in that didn’t require drag-inducing belly radiators, and a bunch of other changes. I’m sure the engine was heavily modified as well...a stock Merlin of that vintage was “only” good for about 1500 horsepower and Unlimited race planes run more than that.
Double-engined P-38s were very quirky, very fast, and very unforgiving, and there were a lot of accidents during World War II in and around Los Angeles, where AAC/AAF pilots were trained.
No, it was a small gas leak that ignited. The plane landed safely in a field and everyone was evacuated safely. Due to the field being so wet the fire department declined to drive thru it and so the plane burned resulting in far more damage than was necessary.