Video, Telemetry System On Crash Airplane

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Crash investigators have recovered memory cards that might have come from an on-board camera on Jimmy Leeward’s P-51 that crashed at the National Championship Air Races in Reno last Friday. There was also a flight systems telemetry set-up on board that transmitted information on the aircraft’s health and performance to his ground crew, according to an Associated Press story. Investigators have now confirmed their probe will focus in part on the aircraft’s tail structure and the possibility that a failure of the left horizontal stabilizer trim tab was a contributing factor in the crash, which killed nine people, including Leeward and eight spectators. More than 60 people on the ground were injured and about a dozen remain in the hospital, some in critical condition. The near-vertical impact of the fighter left a crater in the concrete three feet deep and eight feet across and spread debris over almost two acres. More photos and videos have surfaced since the crash and while the primary focus has been on missing tail parts, there are a couple of other anomalies in the photos.

In various images of the final milliseconds of the flight, Leeward can’t be seen in the cockpit. Also, the retractable tailwheel is fully deployed during the crash sequence and it’s not clear when that occurred or what effect it might have had. Officials are also casting doubt on earlier reports that Leeward made a single Mayday call before the crash. They told reporters there is no evidence of such a call. Two of the spectators killed in the accident have been identified. They are Greg Morcom, 47, of Washington State and Michael Wogan, 22, of Scottsdale, Ariz., a muscular dystrophy sufferer who was in a wheelchair.

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