MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The pilot of a post-World War II plane died yesterday after crashing into a runway and bursting into flames, the second deadly air show crash in 24 hours.
The West Virginia Air National Guard said no spectators were injured and that the crash site was far away from anyone at the show.
he crash occurred a day after a stunt pilot crashed at a Nevada air show, killing nine.
“We were fortunate that the safety measures put in place by the Federal Aviation Administration ensured the safety of those on the ground,” Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard, said in a written statement. “Right now our thoughts and prayers are with the family members of the deceased.”
Officials had not released the pilot’s name. The fixed-wing, single-engine T-28 plane is registered to John Mangan of Concord, N.C., and was built in 1958, according to a Federal Aviation Administration registry.
The Journal of Martinsburg reported that the craft went out of control during a six-plane stunt formation and crashed near hangars.
Witnesses reported seeing a large fireball. Morgan McEachern, a college student, said she was watching the T-28 perform a midair crisscrossing stunt with a similar plane.
“After crossing each other, the plane to my right lowered closer to the ground, and from what I saw was at almost a sideways angle and rolled onto its side,” she said
It looked very much like the tip of one of the wings clipped the ground and dragged before exploding.”
he plane was part of the T-28 Warbird Aerobatic Formation Demonstration Team, which performs at air shows around the country.
The team is known as the Trojan Horsemen and its Web site says Jack “Flash” Mangan is part of the alternate wing. His biography on the site says he is a former Air Force fighter pilot who won three Meritorious Service Medals and Tactical Air Command’s Instructor Pilot of the Year.
The T-28 was used for training by the Navy and Air Force between 1950 and 1984.