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Sat, Jul 28, 2007

Identities Released In Oshkosh P-51 Landing Collision

Pilot Gerard Beck Lost In Friday Accident

ANN REALTIME UPDATE 07.28.07 1058 EDT: At a Saturday morning news conference, officials with the EAA and NTSB released the names of the two pilots involved in Friday's landing accident at Wittman Field.

Gerard S. Beck of Wahpeton, ND was flying the green-winged P-51A that apparently collided with a P-51D, flown by Casey Odegaard, as both aircraft came in to land at 1517 CDT Friday following a simulated air race performance at AirVenture 2007. Beck's plane flipped as the aircrafts' wings touched, and the P-51A impacted the ground in an inverted attitude.

Beck was killed in the accident. Odegaard was able to exit his plane under his own power after it came to rest on its nose, about 50 yards ahead of the wreckage of Beck's aircraft.

An NTSB briefing on the accident has been rescheduled for 1600 CDT Saturday. Jim Stillman is the Safety Board's lead investigator for this accident.

ANN REALTIME UPDATE 07.28.07 0135 EDT: The National Transportation Safety Board will hold a briefing at Wittman Field on Saturday, to provide further details surrounding Friday's P-51 landing accident that claimed the life of one pilot, and injured the second.

NTSB spokesman Ted Lopatkiewicz confirmed to the Washington Post the planes' wings touched during landing. Video footage of the collision obtained by ANN shows the first aircraft on landing rollout when the second plane, still in the air, collided with the left wing or horizontal stabilizer of the first.

The impact kicked the first P-51's tail up, causing that aircraft's nose to strike the ground as it skidded to a stop; the second P-51 -- still in the air -- kicked sharply to the right, and rolled into the first aircraft's rear fuselage assembly before impacting the ground, inverted, and catching fire.

Officials have not released the identities of either pilot. The aircraft had just finished participating in a simulated air race competition.

The accident images shown above and below are taken from video footage shot by air show spectator Andrew Pappas, and used with permission by ANN.

1850 EDT: Federal Aviation Administration personnel confirm one person was killed in a landing accident at Wittman Field, as both planes were coming in to land Friday afternoon following an air race demonstration at AirVenture 2007.

Officials have not released the identities of the pilots involved.

1835 EDT -- ANN has confirmed two P-51s returning to land from a simulated air race performance at Oshkosh AirVenture 2007 are down near the end of runway 36 at Wittman Field.

Footage of the accident obtained by ANN shows both aircraft coming in for landing on 36 at approximately 1500 CDT, with the lead aircraft rolling on the runway and a second on station to the left rear, approximately 20 feet off the ground. It appears the right wing of the aircraft still in the air clipped the left rear horizontal stablizer of the first as it came alongside.

The aircraft already on the ground came to rest on its nose approximately 50 yards down the runway; the aircraft above rolled over, and impacted the ground inverted.

Identities and conditions of the pilots involved have not been confirmed. Officials with EAA postponed the day's airshow performances until 1700 CDT.

ANN will update the story as more information becomes available.

FMI: www.airventure.org

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