CHARLESTON, W.Va (Reuters) - The pilot killed in the crash of a vintage military plane at a West Virginia air show was identified on Sunday as John “Flash” Mangan of North Carolina, officials said.
The fiery crash, in which no one else was injured, occurred on Saturday, a day after a World War Two-era fighter plane crashed near the grandstands at a Nevada air show, killing nine people and injuring more than 50 others.
Mangan’s T-28 aircraft crashed during an acrobatic demonstration at the 2011 Thunder Over the Blue Ridge Open House & Air Show in Martinsburg, the West Virginia Air National Guard said.
Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said: “I was deeply saddened to learn of the accident that occurred during the Thunder Over the Blue Ridge Air Show which took the life of pilot, John “Flash” Mangan of Concord, N.C.”
“The shock of such a tragedy during a family event such as this is extremely unfortunate for everyone involved,” Tomblin said in a statement.
Mangan, 54, had been performing a stunt in a formation of six T-28s, planes that were used for training by the Navy and Air Force between 1950 and 1984. His plane crashed in a large fireball after a stunt in which he performed an opposing pass with another plane, witnesses said.
Mangan was a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and spent 13 years active duty as an Air Force fighter pilot flying the F-15 and F-4 aircraft.
He was awarded three Meritorious Service Medals and Tactical Air Command’s Instructor Pilot of the Year during his service, according to his bio.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board will have a preliminary report on the crash in 10 days, spokesman Peter Knudson told a conference call.
NTSB interviewed witnesses, air traffic controllers, and pilots in the flight team, and secured the wreckage for reconstruction. Investigators were also looking at videos taken by spectators to determine what caused the crash.
The T-28 plane was a Navy and Air Force trainer used between 1950 and 1984.
Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Cynthia Johnston