The civilian pilot of a Grumman OV-1 Mohawk crashed during practice for the Stuart Air Show in Stuart, Florida, on Friday, killing the pilot, a Miami-based dermatologist. The NTSB is investigating the crash.
The owner and restorer, Dr. Joseph Masessa, had flown the plane at airshows across the country for years, and friends of his described to local media the Mohawk as being the doctor’s true passion.
The Mohawk is a Vietnam-era observation and light attack aircraft (around 15,500 pounds max weight) that first flew in 1959 and was retired from service by the United States Army in the mid-1990s. Grumman built just fewer than 400 of the planes, and there are just over a dozen airworthy examples left in the world.
Masessa’s routine included simulated attack runs and some basic aerobatic maneuvers. Witnesses who saw the last seconds of the Mohawk’s flight described the plane as descending nose-first almost vertically before impacting the ground near the runway end.
The NTSB is investigating the crash, and it will doubtless be looking closely at the plane’s propellers to see if both of the plane’s Lycoming turboprop engines were developing power at the time of impact.
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