NTSB: No video from P-51 in Reno air show crash

October 24, 2011 - 11:00 AM

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Federal crash investigators said Friday they found no readable onboard video amid the debris of a modified racing plane that crashed into a crowd of spectators last month at an air race in Reno, killing 11 and injuring at least 74.

However, National Transportation Safety Board technicians are still trying to extract information from an onboard data memory card about the final fateful seconds of the Sept. 16 crash of the P-51D Mustang at Reno-Stead Airport, a board spokesman said.

NTSB spokesman Terry Williams said any such telemetry data and information recovered from the card will be made part of a final crash report that could take months to complete.

The memory cards were found amid damaged aircraft components and other bits of debris scattered over more than 2 acres following the crash at the National Championship Air Races.

Spectators provided hundreds of photos and dozens of videos to the NTSB.

Safety board member Mark Rosekind said last month that investigators hoped to extract clues from an onboard data box, camera equipment and the video memory cards found amid the wreckage that were believed to be from pilot Jimmy Leeward's modified World War II-era aircraft dubbed "The Galloping Ghost."

Rosekind said investigators also were looking at a piece that apparently fell off the tail of the plane as it went out of control.

Photos showed a tail part known as an elevator trim tab missing as the plane climbed sharply, then rolled and plunged nose-first at more than 400 mph into box seats on the tarmac in front of the center of the grandstands. Dead and injured people were scattered widely, but there was no fire.

Leeward, 74, of Ocala, Fla., was among those killed. He was a veteran movie stunt pilot and air racer who competed at the Reno air races since 1975.