A pilot was stunt flying over the runway last month at Redlands Municipal Airport shortly before he crashed beside the airfield’s perimeter fence, witnesses told federal investigators.
“After impact, the airplane slid into an unoccupied vehicle that was parking on the shoulder of a city roadway,” according to the National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report.
The Pitts S-2B aerobatic biplane crashed at 8:50 a.m. Sept. 19 and clipped a car parked along Sessums Drive. The pilot was seriously injured, and the airplane burned.
The report did not name the pilot or describe his injuries, but witnesses told of his apparent condition when he was freed from the wreckage.
“The head wound was probably the most serious,” said Joe Savage, who helped pull the man out of the plane. “But he was pretty cut up in the mid-section and the legs.”
On Friday, the airport’s annual airshow was cancelled because of economic difficulties. Air Boss Dennis Brown said show organizers couldn’t afford the city fees of about $4,600. The city required that four police officers and a fire engine be present, at a cost of about $3,500.
“There have been two air shows recently where planes have crashed,” said city spokesman Carl Baker. “We had a plane crash at our airport last week.
“All we’re doing is taking the necessary precautions for public safety.”
Brown, the show’s air boss, said he couldn’t say whether the show will return next year.
“It takes one year to plan for an airshow,” he noted. “The future of this show is uncertain.”