Air Race Pilot Still Hospitalized One Month Later
It's a slow process -- recovering from a tragic air racing
accident -- for pilot Steve Mountain.
Mountain, who's in his mid-40s, was seriously
injured on May 29th when his Debus Casst Snoshoo went down at the
International Formula One Race in Oklahoma City,
"His legs were broken very badly... and he's had some serious
facial injuries," said Jim Debus, who last saw him on Monday,
according to the Lincoln, NE, Journal-Star.
"The engine quit. We knew that the first day," said FAA
spokesman John Clabes.
The NTSB, in its preliminary accident report, stated:
A witness, who was located approximately mid-field on the ramp
reported observing the airplane completing its third lap of an
International Formula One Air Race when it aborted the race and
climbed southbound toward the center of the airport. The airplane
then turned left and began to descend on a northerly heading
approaching runway 35L (6,013-foot long and 100-foot wide concrete
runway). At an altitude of approximately 200 feet above ground
level (agl), the airplane turned to the east, side stepping to
runway 35R (3,502-foot-long and 75-foot wide asphalt/concrete
runway). Approximately 50 feet agl, the airplane pitched upward
"slightly" and started to spin to the left. Subsequently, the
airplane impacted the edge of runway 35R in "a vertical
Examination of the airplane by an Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) inspector, who responded to the accident site,
revealed that the airplane came to rest inverted, approximately 70
feet from the initial point of impact. The fuselage structure
forward of the aft part section of the cockpit was destroyed. The
left wing was separated from the fuselage and was fragmented. The
right wing was separated from the fuselage and was split in half.
The outboard tip of the right horizontal stabilizer and elevator
was bent upwards approximately 45 degrees. The left horizontal
stabilizer, elevator, vertical stabilizer, and rudder sustained
minor cosmetic damage. The engine was separated from its mounts.
Both composite propeller blades were destroyed.
The question, of course, is why the engine failed in the first
"It could be anything," Clabes said.