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Investigators unable to recover on-board video in Reno air crash

October 21, 2011 | 12:47 pm

Investigators have been unable to recover any on-board video from the wreckage of the “Galloping Ghost,” the World War II vintage racing craft that crashed last month in an air race in Reno.

In a statement released Friday, the National Transportation Safety Board said it was continuing its probe into the accident that killed 11 people, including pilot Jimmy Leeward, and injured at least 74. The crash rocked the vintage aircraft race world where Leeward, 74, of Florida, was a fixture.

At a news conference last month, NTSB member Mark Rosekind said investigators hoped to find evidence from an on-board data box and video memory cards found amid the debris. But the agency was unable to retrieve any on-board video from the badly damaged equipment, the NTSB said in its statement Friday.

A memory card taken from the on-board telemetry unit is still being examined, the agency said. Also being checked is telemetry data sent from the craft to the race crew on the ground and the dozens of videos and hundreds of photographs provided by race spectators.

After the crash, speculation for the cause fell on the tail and a part known as the elevator trim tab, which photos seemed to show falling off the plane as it climbed.

The craft, a P-51D Mustang, fell head-first and crashed in the tarmac in front of the grandstands.


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Photo: A crowd gathers around debris after a P-51 Mustang airplane crashed at the Reno Air Show on Sept. 16. Credit: Tim O'Brien / Grass Valley Union