THE pilot of a post-World War II plane has died after his aircraft crashed into a runway and burst into flames, the second deadly airshow crash in 24 hours.
The West Virginia Air National Guard said no spectators were injured and the crash site was far away from anyone at the show.
Still, air show officials posted a notice on their website encouraging those who witnessed the crash to seek support if they felt viewing it had been traumatic.
The crash happened a day after a stunt pilot crashed at a Nevada air show yesterday, killing himself and eight others.
“We were fortunate that the safety measures put in place by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ensured the safety of those on the ground,” Major General James Hoyer, adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard, said in a statement. “Right now our thoughts and prayers are with the family members of the deceased.”
Officials have not released the pilot’s name. The fixed-wing, single-engine T-28 plane is registered to John Mangan of Concord, North Carolina, and was built in 1958, according to an FAA registry.
The Journal of Martinsburg reported the aircraft lost control during a six-plane stunt formation and then crashed on a runway near hangars at the airfield, causing thousands at the show to cry, hug and pray afterward.
The plane was part of the T-28 Warbird Aerobatic Formation Demonstration Team, which performs at air shows around the US.
The team is known as the Trojan Horsemen and its website 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.
A message left at Mangan’s North Carolina home was not immediately returned today.
According to Boeing’s website, the North American T-28 Trojan was a basic trainer that was used by the US Navy, including for carrier operation. Its first flight was in 1949 and it was designed to transition pilots to jet aircraft.