Memory Cards Yield
No Information On Last Month's Air Race Crash
By Shane Nolan
October 22, 2011 - Last month an experimental a vintage
P-51D Mustang, N79111 crashed following a loss of
control while maneuvering at Reno Stead Airport, Reno,
Nevada, air race. The NTSB has reported they had removed
a memory card from the on-board telemetry unit of the
accident aircraft and were unable to retrieve any
on-board video from the badly damaged components and
memory cards found in the debris field.
Additional telemetry data that was transmitted from the
accident aircraft to the race crew on the ground is also
still being examined. The NTSB investigators continue to
review the dozens of videos and hundreds of photographs
provided to them by spectators at the air race.
On September 16, 2011, an experimental North America P-51D, N79111, impacted the ground following a loss of control while maneuvering. The airplane was registered to Aero-Trans Corp, Ocala, Florida, and operated by the pilot as Race 177.
commercial pilot was killed and the aircraft was destroyed.
Casualties on the ground included 10 fatalities and 74 injured.
Eight of the injured were hospitalized.
airplane had completed several laps and was in a steep left turn
towards the home pylon when, according to photographic evidence,
the airplane suddenly banked momentarily to the left before
banking to the right, turning away from the race course, and
pitching to a steep nose-high attitude.
reported and photographic evidence indicates that a piece of the
airframe separated during these maneuvers. After roll and pitch
variations, the airplane descended in an extremely nose-low
attitude and collided with the ground in the box seat area near
the center of the grandstand seating area.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board
(NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration examined the
wreckage on site. They documented the debris field and
identified various components of the airplane?s control system
and control surfaces. The wreckage was removed to a secure
storage facility for detailed examination at a later date.
ground crew noted that the airplane had a telemetry system that
broadcast data to a ground station as well as recorded it to a box on
board the airplane. The crew provided the ground station telemetry data,
which includes engine parameters and global positioning satellite system
data to the NTSB for analysis.
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