A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board says the fatal crash at the Quad-City Air Show on Saturday occurred as three planes were executing a "crossover break maneuver," but says there was no in-air collision.
Glenn A. Smith, 59, head of the Frisco, Texas-based Warbird Education Foundation, died after his L-39 crashed about 1:30 p.m. The single-engine, Soviet-era jet went down near the Ercolina Building on Research Parkway in Davenport, north of Interstate 80. It was flying in formation with two other
L39C single-engine turbo jets when it crashed..
According to the NTSB's preliminary report, "Shortly before the accident, the three airplanes were traveling in a westerly direction away from the spectators," the NTSB reported. "According to the lead pilot, the airplanes were executing a crossover break maneuver, which the accident airplane was in the left wing position.
"During the crossover break maneuver, the lead airplane first entered a climbing maneuver, the left wing airplane entered a right turn and then the right wing airplane entered a left turn with adequate longitudinal spacing.
"During the maneuver, the accident airplane entered the right turn, descended, and impact the terrain. A post-impact fire ensued.
"No evidence of any in-flight collision with the other airplanes was observed."
The report said the airplane was severely fragmented and consumed by fire. The main wreckage came to rest 1.2 miles from the Davenport Municipal Airport.
Eric M. Weiss, spokesman for the NTSB, said Friday it could take a year to 18 months to finish the final report.
After reaching a probable cause of the accident, the NTSB will "issue any recommendations that could prevent an accident like this from occurring in the future. It will take months of painstaking and exhaustive investigation to piece together exactly what happened and why." he said.
The flight originated from the airport about 1:15 p.m., according to the NTSB.
Sherrard, IL Details
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