Pilot Killed In Flying Wing Crash Identified | Loungtastic
The pilot killed in Monday’s N9M Flying Wing crash has been identified as David Vopat. He was flying the one-of-a-kind aircraft near its home base in Chino, CA when it crashed into a prison yard in nearby Norco. You can read more about the N9M in our previous post on the crash.
After the crash, Planes of Fame put out a statement which confirmed that the aircraft was being flown in preparation for the upcoming airshow organized by the museum. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Here is the crash statement from Planes of Fame:
Today at approximately 12:00 PM one of our Museum pilots and our N9MB Northrop Flying Wing were lost in an accident in Norco, CA. The flight was being conducted in preparation for the upcoming Planes of Fame Airshow where it was scheduled to fly. At this time details are not known as to the cause of the accident. The NTSB will investigate the accident to determine the cause. To our knowledge no one on the ground was injured nor was there damage to any buildings.
The identification of the pilot, the sole occupant, is being withheld pending notification of family.
The Planes of Fame N9MB, one of four one-third size flying wings built for flight testing in 1944, had been restored over a thirteen (13) year period beginning in 1981. The one of a kind aircraft flew its first post restoration flight on September 11, 1994 and had safely flown several hundred hours since then.
We are deeply saddened by the loss of the pilot and our deepest sympathies go out to his family.
The museum later posted this tribute to David after his name was officially made public:
David flew professionally with a commercial airline, was a certified flight instructor, and had a passion for vintage aircraft and warbirds. He began volunteering much of his time at our museum over seven years ago and flew various aircraft including our P-40 and AT-6/SNJ but expressed a keen interest in the Northrop N9MB Flying Wing. He was entrusted as the primary pilot and chief mechanic on that very special aircraft, and flew the Wing for several years in local airshows to the joy and delight of spectators. David could often be found working late hours at the museum and was a valued A&P mechanic, always willing to jump in and lend a hand. His positive attitude and limitless energy were as much an asset as his skills and expertise.
Our thoughts go out to David’s family and the Planes of Fame organization as they mourn his loss.The legal dispute between the Planes of Fame Air Museum, the Flying Tigers Aviation FBO, and the Yanks Air Museum has been settled. The lawsuit, which aimed to end the popular Planes of Fame airshow put on by the museum, was initially filed immediately before the 2017 airshow.
The legal dispute between the Planes of Fame Air Museum, the Flying Tigers Aviation FBO, and the Yanks Air Museum has been settled. The lawsuit, which aimed to end the popular Planes of Fame airshow put on by the museum, was initially filed immediately before the 2017 airshow.
Pilot Marty Tibbitts was killed when his de Havilland DH-112 Venom aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff. Marty was on a formation training flight when the accident occurred. The aircraft crashed into a barn near the airport, killing dozens of livestock and injuring two people on the ground.
On Monday, April 21, 2019, inmates at the California Rehabilitation Centre got the fright of their lives when a plane crashed into the prison exercise yard and burst into flames, killing one person.
The prison is situated in Norco, Southern California, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.
The unique flying wing aircraft, the Northrop N-9M, crashed around midday, but the cause of the accident is unknown at this time.
Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), said that the plane had taken off from Chino Airport with only the pilot on board.
1944 Northrop Flying Wing N9MB. Photo: Tomás Del Coro / CC BY-SA 2.0
Since Kenitzer said that the pilot was the only person on board the historic aircraft, officials from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office would not confirm any deaths although it is likely that the pilot died in the crash.
The Department of Corrections released a statement saying that no-one on the ground had been seriously injured, but one inmate had received superficial scratches.
Television news footage shows the wreckage strewn across the exercise yard. Scorch marks indicate where the plane came down.
Local residents reported that they heard a loud bang and saw a plume of smoke rising into the air. One resident, Susan Fracol, told reporters that it was heart-breaking to watch the plane spiral to the ground.
The N-9M was a flying wing type of plane and was the last of four of this type that was built in the 1940s by Jack Northrop. The aircraft was approximately one-third the size of the anticipated full-sized heavy bomber that Northrop hoped would be developed from these prototypes.
The N-9M, first flown in 1942, boasted a wing-span of 172-feet and was powered by a single propeller that pushed rather than pulled. It also had a twin tail and a metal skin.
The particular program that these planes formed part of was canceled, but the flying wing concept never died and rose again in the form of the B-2 stealth bomber, which first flew with the US Air Force in 1989.
The specific plane involved in the crash had been resurrected and refurbished in 1994 to return it to flying status. The plane’s registered owner, according to FAA records, is the Planes of Fame aircraft museum that is situated in Chino.
The museum is in the midst of preparations for an air show, and they confirmed that they owned the plane and that it had been lost along with the pilot.
The National Transportation Board and the FAA will investigate the crash.
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The US reconnaissance aircraft was spotted approaching Russia’s airspace and was immediately identified by the Su-27 fighter jet “at a safe distance,” Russian news agencies reported, citing a defence ministry statement.
After reporting back to the communications intelligence unit, the fighter jet escorted it away from the Russian airspace “in compliance with all security and safety requirements,” it said.
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