NTSB: On-board video too damaged to shed light on Reno crash

October 25, 2011

Investigators were unable to retrieve on-board video from badly damaged equipment recovered from the site of a fatal crash during the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nev., Sept. 16, the National Transportation Safety Board announced Oct. 21.

Investigators had hoped to analyze data from an on-board camera system and another system that recorded data on memory cards and using telemetry. They were unable to retrieve video from memory cards and components found in the debris field, the NTSB said, but are still examining a memory card taken from the on-board telemetry unit of the aircraft to determine if data can be retrieved.

The modified P-51D Mustang was in a steep left turn toward the home pylon when it began a series of abrupt changes in roll and pitch, according to the NTSB preliminary report. It impacted the box seat area at Reno/Stead Airport in an extremely nose-low attitude, killing pilot Jimmy Leeward and 10 others and injuring scores.

The board said investigators continue to examine additional telemetry data that was transmitted from the accident aircraft to the race crew on the ground, as well as review dozens of videos and hundreds of photographs provided by spectators.