A plane practicing for the New York Air Show crashed on Friday, killing the pilot, CNN reported. The pilot lost control of a two-seater, single-engine aerobatic plane, crashing into a wooded area bordering Stewart International Airport in New Windsor, located about 70 miles north of New York City.
The plane, a Giles G202 aircraft, was allegedly flying upward and into a corkscrew when something happened to the back of the plane, and it fell into a steep dive. The rear part of the plane appeared to have fallen off, said Capt. Brendan Casey with New York State Police, CNN reported. The pilot was scheduled to appear in the New York Air Show, taking place on Saturday and Sunday at Stewart International Airport. The pilot, who was not immediately named by authorities, was praised for using “every bit of energy” to steer the plane away from people as it went down. No one on the ground was injured.
"He knew that he wasn't going to be landing -- at least not controlled," said Ben Granucci, an associate editor with the New York City aviation enthusiasts' website NYCAviation.com, CNN reported. "I can't even ponder what was going through his head at that point, but if that's the last thing he did, that's commendable and very respectable."
The cause of the crash was not immediately known, but there has been speculation that the tragedy was caused by a “structural failure.”
"I just think this was a tragic accident where it was some type of equipment failure ... that led to this," said Casey, who is the state police incident commander for the air show, CNN reported. "I don't know if there's anything from a safety standpoint that could have been done to prevent this."
Over the past week, several people have been killed in air shows. Last Saturday, a Cold War-era military jet participating in an air show in England crashed into a highway and killed 11 people. On Sunday, two planes collided during an air show in Dittingen, Switzerland, killing one of the pilots.