NTSB Reveals Error Chain In Hawker Hunter Fatality

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The National Transportation Safety Board has released information that provides disturbing details of the fatal crash of a Hawker Hunter T MK 7 being ferried last July 22 for the Northern Lights Aerobatic team. Pilot Thomas Benton Delashaw of Conroe, Texas, was killed less than a mile from the runway after taking off from the Wilkes Barre/Scranton (Penn.) International Airport in VFR conditions. The NTSB report includes facts about an engine swap-out the week before the fatal accident, and the mechanic's warnings that the newly installed engine wasn't running correctly. "According to the A&P mechanic who oversaw and supervised the engine change," reads the NTSB report, "he did not sign off any maintenance records to return the airplane to an airworthy status." The unnamed mechanic went on to describe two engine acceleration tests that the aircraft failed. Other testimony told of multiple aborted takeoffs in the days leading up to the fatal crash. Testing at the crash site also revealed what appeared to be water in the fuel.