Print and broadcast news coming out of Reno following Friday’s crash of a World War II-era P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft all reported --- within the first three paragraphs --- that the pilot was 74 years old, implying age was a factor in the incident that left 10 people dead, including the pilot, and scores injured, observes Grumpy Editor.
However, images captured as the aircraft spiraled out of control and crashed showed a chunk of the tail section was missing.
Experts identified the missing part appeared to be an elevator trim tab that affects control of the aircraft.
Pilot Jimmy Leeward, of Ocala, Fla., was a veteran airman and movie stunt pilot and participated before in the National Championship Air Races.
The Reno event operated under stringent Federal Aviation Administration regulations. That included examinations of pilots’ qualifications, their aircraft and records plus a requirement that participants complete rigorous training prior to the annual competition.
Meanwhile, reporters disclosed that the Reno airport where the air race was conducted was then closed while officials conducted an investigation.
Not one mentioned that the crash occurred at Reno-Stead Airport, not at the unaffected larger Reno-Tahoe International Airport, eight miles away.