Thursday, February 04, 2016

North American P-51C Mustang, N61429, American Air Power Heritage Flying Museum: Accident occurred February 03, 2016 at Dallas Executive Airport (KRBD), Texas

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Docket And Docket Items -  National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary  -  National Transportation Safety Board:

American Air Power Heritage Flying Museum:

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Dallas FSDO-05

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA133
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 03, 2016 in Dallas, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/05/2016
Aircraft: NORTH AMERICAN P 51, registration: N61429
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that he landed the airplane with the landing gear retracted, which resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage.

According to the pilot there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation. 

The pilot further reported that this accident could have been prevented with a "higher degree" of diligence to checklists.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot's failure to extend the landing gear prior to landing, which resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage during landing.

The pilot of a World War II-era P-51C Mustang is OK after making an emergency belly landing at Dallas Executive Airport Wednesday morning.

Dallas-Fire Rescue confirms the plane landed at about 10:30 a.m. with its gears retracted.  The plane apparently skidded off the runway  and onto a grassy area where the prop detached from the plane's body.

The P-51 is a single-seat fighter and was being piloted by Bill Shepard, who was not injured in the emergency landing.

Shepard was landing back at Dallas Executive for a special event in honor of Black History Month when the emergency occurred, according to the Commemorative Air Force, who owns the plane and is based out of the South Dallas airfield.

"Earlier today, the CAF Red Tail Squadron's P-51C experienced a gear-up landing at Dallas Executive Airport,” said Stephan C. Brown, president and CEO of the CAF. “Pilot and Squadron Leader Bill Shepard was uninjured. The aircraft sustained substantial damage, but we will start the restoration process shortly. As with the Tuskegee Airmen she honors, this airplane will 'Rise Above' to 'Triumph Over Adversity' and fly again. We appreciate the many messages of concern received today."

Records obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration indicate the aircraft was built in 1942 and that the owner is the American Air Power Heritage Flying Museum, the former name of the CAF. 

The P-51C was donated to the CAF in 1988 and was restored as a Red Tail over a period of several years. It was christened the Tuskegee Airmen and returned to the skies in 2001. In 2004 the plane suffered an engine failure and crashed, killing pilot Don Hinz, according to the CAF's online documentation of the aircraft. Following the fatal crash the aircraft was once again "restored rivet by rivet" before flying again in 2009.

CAF spokesman Adam Smith said the pilot was on a regular proficiency flight when the incident happened. He told NBC 5 they plan to again repair the aircraft and get it flying.

Officials have not given any other details on what may have gone wrong with the aircraft or why a belly landing was necessary. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Officials with the city of Dallas tweeted that a crane will be used to remove the damaged aircraft from the airfield and that the runways should reopen to traffic at about 1:15 p.m.

Story, video and photo gallery:


  1. Looks like the prop blades are still straight which would imply they weren't turning at impact, so that might mean engine failure of some sort. Thoughts?

  2. I believe it was a planned belly landing due to an unsafe gear condition? In that event it is standard procedure to shut the engine off and feather the prop prior to touchdown to try to minimize damage to the engine and prop. In this case it looks like departure from the runway and rough or uneven ground made the plane bounce or rock enough that the prop struck something solid and detached

  3. Read the report on the accident here.