L-39 Albatross Soviet military jet crashes at Iowa air show, pilot killed
Monday, 03 September 2012 01:52
Soviet-era military L-39 Albatross jet trainer plane performing at an air show in Davenport, Iowa, crashed and exploded in front of thousands of spectators.
A member of the Hoppers Flight Jet Team, takes off from the Davenport
Municipal Airport in Mt. Joy, Iowa.(AP)
The pilot of the plane was killed in the accident Saturday afternoon, September 01, 2012 when the plane nosedived into an alfalfa field during the Quad City Air Show, officials said.
The pilot, who died on impact, was not immediately identified by authorities.
Schaeffer told CNN affiliate WQAD.
The pilot was a member of the Hopper Flight, a group of exhibition fliers, Schaeffer said.
A home video taken by a spectator showed what appeared to be three airplanes flying in formation when one appeared to experience a problem.
Seconds later, the plane hit the ground and exploded in a giant fireball.
Authorities said the jet was flying in formation with other jets when it failed to pull out of a 45-degree bank and crashed into a field north of Interstate 80 around 1:25 p.m. Saturday.
Assistant Davenport Police Chief Don Schaeffer did not reveal the pilotâ€™s name, but said he was not from Davenport.
â€śHe never had an opportunity to come out of it,â€ť Schaeffer said.
Schaeffer said at a news conference that the plane flew directly into the ground. No one on the surface was hurt, but crowds watching the show saw the plane go down and erupt in flames.
Davenport police and federal investigators planned to comb the field Saturday for widely scattered wreckage from the plane.
Schaeffer estimated parts of the plane were strewn over an area up to 220 yards, or a tenth of a mile.
â€śThere are literally hundreds of pieces of debris scattered across the field,â€ť he said. â€śWe want to collect and catalog each piece so that if the FAA or some other investigating body wants to rebuild the plane, they can do it.â€ť
Schaeffer said he had no information about what may have caused the crash. Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration were at the scene, but they did not take part in the news conference. The crash investigation was expected to resume Sunday morning, Schaeffer said
The crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety, officials said.
The crash investigation was expected to resume Sunday morning, Schaeffer said
The air show was temporarily halted after the crash, with "Taps" being sounded as aircraft flew in formation over the crowd.
The crash occurred just days after federal investigators released their findings behind the cause of a crash last September at the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada, that killed a pilot and 10 spectators. More than 60 others were injured in the crash.( AP/CNN/AC)