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Fri, Sep 07, 2007

Pilot Lost In GEICO SkyTypers Accident At NAS Oceana

Jan Wildbergh Flew Number Six Aircraft

ANN REALTIME UPDATE 09.07.07 1635 EDT: ANN has confirmed that Jan Wildbergh, who flew opposing solo for the GEICO SkyTypers, was the pilot of a North American SNJ-2 that crashed during a rehearsal/media performance Friday at NAS Oceana. Wildbergh was killed in the accident.

According to his bio on the SkyTypers website, Wildbergh flew in the Dutch Air Force operational squadron 314 in the mid-1950s. He emigrated to the US in 1959, and worked his way through the ranks towards an airline career, beginning as a ground crew worker for British Airways and eventually becoming a flight instructor, chief pilot and FAA pilot examiner.

Wildbergh enjoyed scuba diving and boating, in addition to flying.


Original Reports

1550 EDT: Aero-News is awaiting official confirmation of the status of the pilot whose North American SNJ-2 crashed during a rehearsal performance of the GEICO SkyTypers at NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach, VA Friday morning.

Video footage of the accident shows the flight of five had just performed a low flyover at show center, and was breaking formation to come around to land. The accident aircraft was the last plane to pull out of the maneuver; instead of pulling up and out, however, the aircraft continued straight ahead, losing altitude until it impacted terrain.

ANN will have further details of the accident as they become available.

1300 EDT: Aero-News has received confirmation a North American SNJ-2 is down at the NAS Oceana Air Show in Virginia Beach, VA.

Media reports state the aircraft went down on approach to land, and impacted trees alongside the runway.

Preliminary reports state the aircraft was part of the GEICO SkyTypers aerial demonstration team, which performs close demonstration displays and skywriting.

Ralph Roberts with GEICO Skytypers told WAVY-10 the accident involved the team's #6 plane, which apparently went down during practice "at the very end of their last maneuver."  

"We're just hoping for the best," said Troy Snead, a spokesman for Oceana Naval Air Station, told The Virginian-Pilot . "We have an aircraft that went down at the end of the runway, and the emergency crews are on scene."  

The team was scheduled to perform Saturday at the show, according to the Daily Press.

ANN is awaiting word on the condition of the pilot involved in the accident.

FMI: www.skytyping.com


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