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Plane in Reno crash had recording gear

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RENO, Nev. (MCT) — As identities of some of the dead from the Reno air race began to emerge Sunday, the National Transportation Safety Board said the doomed plane had two types of recording devices that might provide clues to what went wrong. At least nine people — pilot Jimmy Leeward and eight spectators — were killed Friday when the World War II-era Galloping Ghost veered skyward during a qualifying heat, then plunged into the box seats. Unlike most aircraft of the same size and vintage,… ( Mais...

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Ron Schaberg 0
Possible stroke
Sean James 0
No stroke, there are many very clear photo's that show the elevator trim tab ripping off, other photo's clearly show the pilot hunched over prior to impact. The extremely violent manuver caused him to black out, unfortunately he was along for the ride.
Zany4God 0
Where was the exploding ball of fire? There was the thunderous crash, and I've heard it said, a 3 foot deep crater but there was no fire, as I looked at the accident. There would have been a lot more killed and injured. Was he low on fuel or out of fuel for some reason? Think back on other accidents you might have witnessed or seen on YouTube, etc. Invariably, there is fire.
Did the trim tab come off prior to that last violent departure or before? Obviously Jimmy did not make those control inputs. I would think a stroke or blackout would send the plane further from the area rather than the violent and sudden sequence.
jesse murga 0
anyone notice the tail wheel was down, before the impact?
John Ward 0
Yes I did and was wondering about that as well. No one seems to have noticed it...
Gianni Giorgio 0
Elevator trim tab ripping off does NOT explain what happened, at all. This looked more like a 'control lock left in' which obviously wasn't the case. I'm thinking he lost control of one or more of the flight controls, by a busted cable, jammed line, or something like that.

Also, the tail wheel is always put like that. It doesn't retract.
linbb 0
Ok the tail wheel doesnt have an up lock only hydraulic pressure holds it up that was over come by the g force. Also due to the need at the speed at which the airplane was traveling this is from a rated pilot in type by the way not me. It would have had full trim to fly level this type of thing happend in the late 80s to another P51 it lost the elevator trim tab, did the same thing but the pilot was able to recover after blacking out, waking up looking at the floor. If you loose part of your elevator it will cause the plane to roll at that speed.
All of the still photos sho his head down or missing from the canopy to impact. The lack of fire is a good thing who knows why as there was plenty of fuel at that point to produce it and the engine was under full power also.
John Ward 0
Yep makes sense. Given the apparent load and lack of any mechanical locking, it makes sense that it dropped before impact.

Gianni - the tailwheel is normal "up" in flight ...
Gianni Giorgio 0
I stand corrected, thanks guys. Boyd, why would it need full trim for straight and level? Is this nose down, so the pilot doesnt need constant forward stick? (I have no experience in type.)

Also, speaking of, I think the increased speed in the dive caused the plane to "pull" away from the grandstand, with the increase in lift. I dont think it was a control input, since it seems clear, as you all have said as well, that he had blacked out.

Gianni Giorgio 0
What actually caused the blackout though? If the trim tab failed, there would be a high positive-g climb, equivalent to a hard pull. Is that what happened?
Lee Burk 0
@ Zany4God, these race planes carry a very minimal amout of fuel while racing. This is to save weight. The minimal amount on board at takeoff was used so there was not much reamining in the tanks. There was also a water system on board for cooling and that could be a reason for no fire. The vaporiziation of the water. Just speculation. @John Ward, many people have noticed the tail wheel being in the down position. It has been discussed quite a bit on other websites, etc. @Gianni Giorgio,sorry, you're wrong!!! The tail wheel on P-51 does retract.
Gianni Giorgio 0
Got it. Tail wheel does retract, was likely down due to high g-load, since there is no mechanical locking mechanism. Got it.


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