Friday, November 1, 2019

Grumman OV-1D Mohawk, N10VD: Fatal accident occurred November 01, 2019 at Witham Field Airport (KSUA), Martin County -and- Incident occurred February 17, 2017 at Jacksonville International Airport (KJAX), Duval County, Florida

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; South Florida

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances.

MD Aviation Ltd

Date: 01-NOV-19
Time: 17:08:00Z
Regis#: N10VD
Aircraft Make: GRUMMAN
Aircraft Model: OV10
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 1
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: AIR SHOW
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 91

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email 

Dr. Joseph Masessa

STUART — Dr. Joseph Masessa was identified as the pilot who died during a fiery plane crash Friday afternoon.

Masessa, was the only one pilot scheduled to fly a Grumman OV-1D Mohawk during the show.

Since the Stuart Air Show started 30 years ago, this is the first plane crash the event has seen, officials said. 

"He will always be remembered as we move forward in future endeavors," a post from the Stuart Air Show said. 

On Saturday, all Stuart Air Show events were canceled because of weather. The Stuart Air Show will return to its scheduled program on Sunday. Officials with the show were unable to be reached Saturday despite numerous attempts.

Sheriff William Snyder of the Martin County Sheriff's Office said Masessa had performed at the air show in previous years and was from South Florida. Snyder said at a press conference Friday Masessa was an experienced pilot.

"The sheriff's office and all of us here are extremely saddened by this," Snyder said. "This is part of the air show, this airplane was here and getting ready for the air show."

Fire Rescue officials said they were staged at the airport and immediately responded when the plane crashed. Officials said nothing could have been done to save Masessa.

“It was in its practice routine and it went nose down into the runway,” said Chris Kammel, bureau chief of Martin County Fire Rescue EMS. 

Witnesses outside the airport reported seeing black smoke after the crash. The plane was fully engulfed in flames, Snyder said.  

"Joe was a beloved performer of the air show, a local Floridian and will forever be family," a Twitter post by the Stuart Air Show said. 

Story and video ➤

Joseph M. Masessa, M.D. was a Diplomate of American Board of Dermatology as well as trained in MOHS Skin Cancer Surgery, Reconstructive Surgery, and General & Cosmetic Dermatology. 

A crew works to add the names of missing Vietnam War soldiers onto Joseph Masessa's Grumman OV-1D Mohawk plane.

A dermatologist from New Jersey died after his plane crashed Friday as he prepared for an air show in Florida, officials for the event confirmed.

Joseph Masessa specialized in skin cancer, surgery and cosmetic dermatology in five North Jersey Dermatology Center locations: Rockaway, Parsippany, Clifton, Newfoundland and Kearny. He is also listed as a doctor for the Dermatology Center of Florida.

The Martin County Sheriff’s Office in Florida said a Grumman OV-1 Mohawk was set to take part in the Stuart Airshow this weekend but crashed on a runway extension at Whitman Field around 1 p.m. Friday. The airshow listed Masessa as the person who would fly the Mohawk in its lineup.

“Joe was a beloved performer of the air show, a local Floridian, and will forever be family,” the Audi Stuart Air Show in Florida wrote in a statement.

A friend who worked on Masessa’s crew around 2014 said the doctor lived and worked in New Jersey and would come to Florida to perform in airshows. He was unsure if Masessa had been living in Florida at the time of the crash.

“He was an incredible pilot," said Brandon Walker, who lives in Georgia. "He’d take his shirt off his back for you.”

Masessa owned a home in Franklin Lakes, according to property records.

The Martin County Sheriff’s Office is working with the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration to investigate the crash. The FAA did not respond to a request for comment Saturday and no one from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office was available to comment.

The doctor loved the Mohawk plane, which was built for battle and first used in the Vietnam War. He even had the names of missing soldiers from that war added onto the fuselage.

Walker told NJ Advance Media that the plane was the world’s "first flying monument.”

“This was our thank you to these men and women, our way to say that they are not forgotten,” said Walker, who helped add the names onto the plane’s exterior.

Masessa was a member of the OV-1 Mohawk Association. One member remembered Masessa as a “prolific airshow artist” and mourned him on the group’s website.

“This is a huge tragedy for the OV-1 Mohawk community,” Bill McNease wrote.

Original article can be found here ➤

Joseph Masessa, far left, stands with others in the pilot community.

STUART, Florida — Karl Robinson was playing a quick round of golf Friday afternoon when he saw it: a plane, part of the Stuart Air Show, drop out of the sky.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Robinson said. “You see this stuff on TV or movies or on internet videos or something, but it was pretty shocking to see that. I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.”

Robinson was golfing on the Martin County Golf Course, which is adjacent to the Witham Field, where the show was taking place.

He was in his golf cart, driving from one hole to the next when he saw the crash.

Robinson drove the cart to the fence that separates the course from the airport and got as close as he could.

He quickly realized there was nothing anyone could do.

“The fire was put out real quickly,” he said. “And you’re looking around for the plane and the parts and the pieces, and there was really not much to see.

“You’re going up to the scene expecting to see all this wreckage, and it was just little pieces of metal. There was nothing there.”

Investigators said the pilot was the only one on board the plane and was killed.

“It was very startling and surreal. You’re seeing something that your mind is not believing,” Robinson said. “It was shocking. It was a tough thing to witness. I’ll never forget it.”

The pilot’s identity has not yet been released.

The National Transportation Safety Board will conduct the investigation into the cause of the crash.

Story and video ➤

Dr. Joseph Masessa

STUART – One person is dead after a plane associated with this weekend’s Stuart Air Show crashed Friday afternoon.

The sole victim was the male pilot who performed at this air show previously, said Sheriff William Snyder of the Martin County Sheriff's Office. Identity of the person killed was not released, pending notification of next of kin. 

The Stuart Air Show opening day nighttime air show and dirty flight suit party were canceled Friday because of the crash. Air Show officials are hoping to reschedule the events for after Saturday's air show. The rest of of the weekend's events will resume as planned, Air Show officials said in a statement. 

This was the first fatality at the Stuart Air Show in its 30-year history, officials said. 

The crash happened about 1:10 p.m. at Witham Field airport, on runway 30 near the Martin County Golf Course. The airport has been closed since the crash, Snyder said about 3:30 p.m. 

Air Show officials have not determined whether the show will open at its scheduled 5 p.m. start time, but cannot open until the airport reopens. 

“It was in its practice routine and it went nose down into the runway,” said Chris Kammel, bureau chief of Martin County Fire Rescue EMS. 

Fire Rescue personnel staged at the airport for the air show witnessed the crash. They immediately responded and extinguished the flames quickly, he said. 

Witnesses outside the airport reported seeing black smoke after the crash. The plane was fully engulfed in flames, Snyder said.  

"There was nothing that could have been done” to save the pilot because of the damage, said Kevin Herdon, Martin County Fire Rescue deputy fire chief. 

Snyder said the plane was a Grumman Mohawk military plane.

Peggy Mooney, 67, afternoon manager for the Martin County Golf Course, said she saw the smoke. The golf course is just east of the airport.

“I didn’t know what was going on,” she said. ”We were afraid it was the air (show) because they’ve been flying around.”

Students at J.D. Parker Elementary in Stuart were at the airport earlier in the day on a field trip, but had already left before the crash, Martin County School District spokeswoman Jennifer DeShazo said.

The scene was turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.  

Officials have not decided whether the Stuart Air Show will go on as scheduled.

Story and video ➤

STUART, Florida — The Martin County Sheriff's Office says one person died when a plane crashed at the Stuart Air Show on Friday afternoon.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board said they're investigating the crash of a Grumman OV-1 Mohawk.

The FAA said the Mohawk, with only the pilot aboard, crashed on the approach end of Runway 1 at Witham Field, located at 2011 SE Airport Rd., around 1:15 p.m.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said the victim is an adult male. It's unclear what caused the plane to go down.

"Fire Rescue personnel were already on the scene and had extinguished the flames which, by all appearances, had fully engulfed the airplane," said Sheriff Snyder at a news conference on Friday afternoon.

Officials said Witham Field is currently closed until further notice, meaning no aviation activity, until local and federal investigators complete their investigation.

The Stuart Air Show, which was was supposed to start at 5 p.m. Friday, has been canceled for Friday night.

"There will be no aeronautical activity for the Friday night Air Show tonight," said George Stokus, the assistant Martin County administrator. "It does appear, based on weather and the incidents that were involved right now, that the fireworks as well as the Dirty Flight Suit Party will not be occurring today."

Officials at the Stuart Air Show released this statement:

"Due to an unfortunate incident today, the Audi Stuart Air Show's night time air show and TD Bank Dirty Flight Suit Party have been cancelled for this evening, Friday, November 1, 2019. We are working to reschedule this event for after tomorrow's airshow, Saturday, November 2, 2019. At this time, the remainder of the weekend's event will resume as planned. If you purchased a Friday General Admission ticket, those tickets will be honored on Saturday or Sunday. If you have a ticket for TD Bank's Dirty Flight Suit Party, stay tuned to our social media channels and your email, as we will be providing updates as soon as we can.

f you purchased a Friday General Admission ticket, those tickets will be honored on Saturday or Sunday. If you have a ticket for TD Bank's Dirty Flight Suit Party, stay tuned to our social media channels and your email, as we will be providing updates as soon as we can. Thank you for your understanding."

A photo posted to social media by MCSO shows the aircraft on the grass at Witham Field with its wings smashed and metal debris scattered around it.

A separate photo from the area shows a cloud of thick, black smoke rising into the sky.

"I saw a gray bomber fly down, and literally within seconds, it just kind of caught my breath because he flew so far down that I thought, there is no way they could have pulled up," said Natalie Evans, a witness. "It just kind of shocked me, stunned me. I didn’t hear a crash and I waited just a little bit and I saw smoke. That part was very upsetting."

According to the Stuart Air Show website, a Grumman OV-1 Mohawk is scheduled to perform at the event.

A Grumman OV-1 Mohawk is a "twin-engine turboprop armed military observation and attack aircraft, designed for battlefield surveillance and light strike capabilities and was intended to operate from short, unimproved runways in support of United States Army maneuver forces," according to the Stuart Air Show's website.

Sheriff Snyder said this type of aircraft was in production from 1959 to 1970.

"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first plane crash the Air Show has ever had," said Sheriff Snyder.

The Stuart Air Show tweeted on Friday they've "had an incident involving one of our aircraft. All local and federal agencies are on site and investigating so that we may ensure the safety of our airshow before we continue."

Story and video ➤

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando

February 17, 2017: Aircraft on landing, gear collapsed. 

Date: 17-FEB-17
Time: 02:45:00Z
Regis#: N10VD
Aircraft Make: GRUMMAN
Aircraft Model: OV-1
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)


Anonymous said...

That thing went straight in without even any type of recovery attempt, pitch or roll. Medical event? Complete hydraulic failure? I have no idea if this aircraft's flight controls can even be manipulated or not with zero hydraulic operation. Any former Mohawk drivers out there who can shed light on this? Otherwise, we'll just have to wait on the preliminary for a clue and the final report a couple years from now for the cause(s). RIP to the pilot and prayers to his family and friends.

normaal said...

The video is not that clear and a bit distorted but considering the unique profile off the plane it looks to me he is flying inverted and pulling ''up'' which means into the ground at the last moment...…
Condolences to his family and RIP to the pilot ...

Janet Airlines said...

Stall/spin: no. Catastrophic failure: no. Major hydraulic failure: possible. In-flight medical emergency: possible. Suicide: possible. R.I.P.

Anonymous said...

Possible he misjudged the pull out on his routine.

The concrete where he hit is pulverized ... at first I thought it was EMAS.


Mouser485 said...

Seems like I’m not the only one who appears he hit inverted. Didn’t seem to be any attempt at all to change the flight path. I’m thinking medical problem too.

Rusty Pilot on the Return said...

Anonymous said...

Another well-educated multifaceted human being gone.
Rest in peace.
Condolences to family and friends who loved him dearly.

Anonymous said...

Elevator or control system failure. Someone with this much experience... No way I'd back seat this to say pilot error. Something happened, and he had no control.

Anonymous said...

No type of mechanical failure at all. The only failure was done by the pilot, sadly. According to several high time pilots who were familiar with the airplane and pilot, and were at the airport and witnessed the accident, all said the aircraft had entered a stall as it was recovering from a rolling maneuver while practicing for the airshow. RIP to the pilot, and prayers for his family. All it takes is one tiny misjudgement while fairly low, and there is no measurable altitude to recover! Sad!

Anonymous said...

What a shame, thanks for displaying your airplane over the years, Doc. Mistakes happen but at low altitude, there's not much room for error. Maybe an ejection seat would have helped but at low altitude and a steep attitude, an ejection may not have had time. Looks like it hit the EMAS off one end of runway 12/30.

Anonymous said...

Several YouTube videos are listed below that show the Doc with his plane (cut/paste the exact text titles into YouTube search from each line below). Some of the videos have up close views of the Doc enjoying the flying and speaking about it all. Sad turn of events to lose him.
Fly with the OV-1 Mohawk at Sun 'n Fun (360 Video)
AirVenture pilot: Flying OV-1D is like sitting on end of very powerful broomstick
Grumman OV-1D Mohawk Cockpit & Walkaround (N10VD)
Mohawk Promo Video
Mohawk 2017 Sizzle
US Army OV-1 Mohawk Demo Flight | Selfridge Airshow 2017
OV-1 Mohawk 2016 Cherry Point Air Show
Grumman OV-1 Mohawk air show at Florida International Air Show.
2016 Greenwood Lake Airshow - Grumman OV-1 Mohawk
US ARMY Vietnam Era Triple Tail Attack Plane OV-1 Mohawk
Cockpit View (Tristate Channel)
Tail View (Tristate Channel)
Take off (Tristate Channel)
VIDEO TS x264 mpeg1video

gretnabear said...

open to read page 24 from 'United States Army Aviation Digest' article "Speaking of the OV-1" concerning a web search for 'stall recovering from roll Mohawk'

Anonymous said...

Joe Masessa and I were good friends. I don't suspect suicide as he and I had significant future plans. He had airshow aerobatic certification and plenty of high G experience. I suspect a mechanical failure.

Anonymous said...

I was friends with Joe and no way this was suicide. I spoke with him weeks ago and we had plans too.

Anonymous said...

The video shows the OV-1D upside-down going into the runway at almost a 45 degree angle for quite a long time suggesting pilot was not oriented or worse had a black-out. This reveals a DESIGN FLAW: OV-1s should have had dual controls and alsways flow with the observer as an emergency pilot who in this case could have saved the plane and the doctor. Another lack is no Recovery Parachute (RP) that IS possible now for a large twin if not inverted.

Iron Jack said...

STALL...... at any speed ! RIP Sir.

Anonymous said...

Failure of elevator up control authority may be to blame. I understand the aircraft was not inverted and did not stall. It simply nosed over and impacted after an easy maneuver.

Anonymous said...

First comment was a question regarding hydraulics:

The Hawk’s Hydraulic system operates the landing gear, flaps, speed brakes, nosewheel steering and windshield wipers. The only controls surfaces operated by hydraulics are the inboard ailerons, which only operate when the flaps are deployed. All other control and trim surfaces are mechanically actuated through control cables. Though the airplane only has a single hydraulic pump and accumulator, the airplane is quite flyable upon loss of hydraulic pressure. Gear can be manually extended and there is a blow-down bottle.

Hawk 017
73rd M.I.

Anonymous said...

I'm going with pilot incapacitation on this one. RIP

Anonymous said...

this is not an F18, F22 or a Falcon. does anybody else ever remember any other geniuses doing aerobatics at airshows in one of these? who would actually see one of these and go wow I want to do aerobatic routines at airshows in this! I'm guessing the only reason he was even successful at getting these gigs was because no one else would even come up with this hair brained scheme. Also love the comments like "he was an experienced pilot". That depends, a 200 hour pilot might agree with that but someone with over 20,000 hours might not think that is a whole lot of experience. He obviously was NOT Bob Hoover though! Hoover did far more daring maneuvers in his aero commander and never even hurt himself. now THAT is what I'd call an experienced pilot. the few videos I saw of this guy doing his routines indicated quite a bit of unnecessary rudder resulting in uncoordinated flight. pretty good setup for a stall on the wing with the down aileron. at least he didn't hurt anybody else. Thank God he didn't have an "observer" in the plane so we had 2 dead instead of one! the pilot at least seemed to be smarter than most of the genius armchair quarterback posters on here!

Anonymous said...

Five doctors killed in a one month period:

Grumman OV-1D Mohawk, Stuart FL, 2019-nov-01
Cessna 414A, Linden NJ, 2019-oct-29
PA-32R-301T, Paducah KY, 2019-oct-31
PA-32-301, Morrisville NC, 2019-oct-20
PA-23-250F, Gonzales LA, 2019-oct-13

I know it's a statistical fluke but yikes!

Anonymous said...

From Oct 13 - Nov 1 = 19 days
Casualty count ?
Loss to family and friends!
Loss of their skill sets!
Loss of services to # patients!
Loss of employment by # staff!
Loss to the community!

Anonymous said...

From the astounding display of brilliance above: "this is not an F18, F22 or a Falcon. does anybody else ever remember any other geniuses doing aerobatics at airshows in one of these?"

Actually, yes. The U.S. Navy and Air Force performs aerobatic displays in these aircraft at airshows all over the country. They have for many years. You may have heard of the Blue Angels, or perhaps the Thunderbirds? Raptor demonstration team? No?

But, hey, your ill informed and condescending comment made you feel like a really cool, really smart guy for a few moments, so there's your upside, right? SMDH . . .

Anonymous said...

Wonder if the pilot had a video recorder operating during this accident.