Tourists shocked as plane nosedives and crashes at air show
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A pilot with more than 25 years experience died when his plane crashed into a field during an air show in eastern Iowa on Saturday.
Shocked spectators watched as Glenn Smith's vintage plane nosedived and crashed into a field alongside the I-80 highway. The aircraft burst into flames and was surrounded by a cloud of thick, grey smoke. No one on the ground was hurt.
AP reports that Mr Smith, 59, (pictured above) had been flying in formation with other members of the HopperFlight team at the Quad-City Air Show in Davenport. He did not make a mayday call or give any sign of distress before the crash and friends say that there were no problems during practise runs.
Police spokesman Don Schaeffer said at a news conference that the plane flew directly into the ground and the pilot did not have enough time to eject from the plane.
The National Transportation Safety Board is now investigating the crash. A preliminary report is expected within a week, but a final report will probably take several months. Investigators will begin by examining the remaining parts of the plane - which were strewn over an area of up to 220 yards - as well as Mr Smiths's autopsy and toxicology reports.
The Daily Mail reports that Mr Smith was the CEO of the Warbird Educational Foundation which owned the Soviet-era L-39 jet he was flying.
He was also the newest member of the 'Hoppers' - a group of pilots who privately maintain and fly L-39 fighter jets at air shows and other exhibitions.
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