The pilot of a 1950’s era plane was killed when his aircraft crashed and burst into flames Saturday afternoon at the Thunder Over the Blue Ridge Open House and Air Show in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
John “Jack” Mangan, a retired Air Force pilot, was in the midst of an aerial maneuver with the T-28 Warbird Aerobatic Formation Demonstration Team when his single engine T-28 aircraft impacted with the ground.
Authorities from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) arrived on Sunday to begin the investigation into what caused the vintage plane to go down.
The crash occurred when Mangan and another pilot were supposed to do an “opposing pass,” which is an aerial maneuver where two planes pass each other laterally before both pull up simultaneously and perform a roll. Mangan’s plane was not able to complete the maneuver and crashed.
NTSB officials say it is simply too early to say what caused the crash. The investigation will look at the flight controls and engine to determine the possibility of any mechanical failures or malfunctions.
In interviews conducted with the two pilots who were in the air with Mangan when the crash occurred, neither mentioned seeing or hearing anything abnormal with the downed aircraft. Likewise, radio calls from the flight tower on Saturday were normal.
NTSB officials say their investigation into the crash will take up to nine months to complete.
The deadly air show crash in Martinsburg comes only a day after a crash at the National Air Races and Air Show in Reno, Nevada, killed 11 people including the pilot and injured over 70 spectators. In that crash, pilot Jimmy Leeward lost control of a 1940’s era plane and crashed into a section of spectators.