Pilot of vintage airplane in fatal crash at California airport was warned about flaps, NTSB says

The ground crew at Chino Airport signaled a warning to the two men in a World War II-era airplane about a wing flaps problem shortly before the Lockheed 12A Electra Junior took off and almost immediately crashed on June 15, killing both veteran aviators, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report released Wednesday, July 10.

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The airplane, built between 1936 and 1941, belonged to the Yanks Air Museum, which operates at the airport. Museum officials said in a Facebook post that Michael Paul Gilles, 71, of Aliso Viejo was the pilot of the twin-engine aircraft and Frank James Wright, 67, of Riverside was the co-pilot. Wright was the chief operating officer of the museum.

Both men were licensed to fly multi-engine airplanes and had valid medical certificates, according to the Federal Aviation Administration website.

The flight, in clear weather at about 12:35 p.m., was in preparation for a three-airplane formation to be flown during that Father’s Day weekend’s Yanks Air Pops & Props event.

“During the engine start, the ground crew warned the flight crew with hand and arm signals that the flaps were extended,” the NTSB report said. “From the ground crew’s experience and observations with the accident airplane, they felt that the flaps were fully extended during taxi and the takeoff on runway 26R.

“According to witnesses and video, as the airplane reached the departure end of the runway, about 200-300 feet above ground level, the airplane pitched up, turned to the left, and entered a nose-low attitude as it descended into terrain,” the report continued.

The NTSB did not offer an opinion on the cause of the crash as that finding is reserved for the final report, which can take two years to produce.

NTSB issues its preliminary report for the ongoing investigation of the June 15 crash of a Lockheed 12A airplane near Chino, California:

— NTSB Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) July 10, 2024

That the flaps apparently were …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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