Pilot Killed In Mohawk Crash At Florida Airshow


A Vietnam War-era OV-1 Mohawk crashed a Florida airshow on Friday, killing the pilot, who was the only person on board. The Audi Stuart Air Show identified Dr. Joseph Masessa as the pilot and owner of the twin-engine turboprop observation and attack aircraft. It’s the second warbird crash in a month since the loss of the Collings Foundation B-17 in Connecticut in early October. The accident happened on the field during practice for the show at Witham Field in Stuart, Florida, about 1:15 p.m. Video showed the plane diving almost vertically into the infield. Emergency personnel were on the scene within seconds but there was nothing that could be done to save Masessa, said local officials. 

Masessa billed his act as the only one of its kind on the airshow circuit and featured simulated low-level attack runs along with light aerobatics. The show was canceled on Friday and bad weather also forced cancellation of the Sunday show. “We ask that you please be patient as we process and mourn the loss of Dr. Joseph Masessa, who was very close to our air show family,” show officials said in a post on their website.  

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. If you understand how the NTSB investigation works then we’ll all know after a thorough investigation examining everything including weather, human factors, aircraft airworthness, last inspection, fuel, etc. If you’re patient, the final NTSB report will be published between 18-24 months. Some reports can be concluded based on a preponderance of overwhelming evidence – a NJ based helicopter returning an executive to his Manhattan condo took off from the east side heliport in imc conditions without an ifr rating and crashed onto a building roof in low level clouds obscuring flight. Ceilings were reported below 600 feet. I regard NTSB reports as the finest possible, involving experts in many fields pertinent to an investigation with virtually zero political, personal or other forms to influence getting to the facts to explain why. Hopefully and without an on board black box, other facts can be assembled to arrive at a logical conclusion.