Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (2024)

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (1)View of the accident site looking down from a balcony.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (2)

View of a separated section of a wing.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (3)View of the right side of the inverted, separated empennage.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (4)

View of control cables forward of the empennage.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (5)View of the engine embedded in terrain and a linear ground scar.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (6)View of the engine embedded in terrain and a linear ground scar.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (7)

View of a separated main landing gear.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (8)Close up view of the embedded engine.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (9)

View of a separated section of a wing spar.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (10)

View of a separated section of a wing spar with the embedded engine in the background.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (11)View of impacted ground vehicles.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (12)View of the separated empennage near impacted ground vehicles.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (13)

View of the separated flight control cables.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (14)

View of the recovered, separated propeller blades.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (15)

View of a ground scar near the location of a propeller blade.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (16)

View of the recovered engine and an attached propeller blade.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (17)

Side view of the recovered engine.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (18)Front view of the recovered engine and an attached propeller blade.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (19)

View of the separated fuel selector valve.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (20)

Witness Photos

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (21)

Observers in Covered Amphitheater

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (22)

Witness Statement on Approach to T82

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (23)

Pilot Logbook

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (24)

Maintenance Records

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (25)

Maps/Charts of Accident Area


The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas
Appareo Systems; Fargo, North Dakota

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

https://registry.faa.gov/N4132A


Location: Fredericksburg, TX
Accident Number: CEN19FA028
Date & Time: 11/17/2018, 1515 CST
Registration: N4132A
Aircraft: North American P51
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis

The commercial pilot was participating in a World War II educational reenactment program with a passenger onboard. The purpose of the flight was to perform 4 to 5 passes in front of an amphitheater where the reenactment was being conducted. Witnesses at the amphitheater stated that the airplane performed a low pass before entering a climb. The airplane then entered a turn followed by a steep descent from which it did not recover before disappearing from view behind trees. Although the pilot held an authorization to fly the accident airplane at the time of the accident, he had a history of failed check rides, airspace violations, and enforcement actions. In each instance, the pilot's certificate was issued or reinstated upon reexamination.

The airplane impacted the ground in a near-vertical attitude. The propeller blades exhibited abrasions and leading-edge gouges consistent with the engine producing power at impact. All observed flight control separations exhibited features consistent with overload. No preimpact anomalies with the engine or airframe were found. Toxicology testing detected ethanol in specimens from the pilot consistent with postmortem production. Although the pilot had a history of coronary artery disease, there was no evidence that this condition contributed to the accident.

The accident pilot ran a charity that provided flights in his warbird airplane to veterans; he typically participated in the reenactment program with a veteran seated in the rear seat of his airplane. The director of the educational program stated that, in a pre-performance briefing on the day of the accident, the pilot was reminded of "all pertinent [Federal Aviation Administration] requirements," including that the fly-by be conducted no lower than 1,000 ft above ground level.

Given the available information, the pilot most likely performed a low-level maneuver with a passenger on board and was unable to recover from that maneuver before impacting terrain.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's decision to perform a low-level maneuver at an altitude where he was unable to recover the airplane before impacting terrain.

Findings

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)
Decision making/judgment - Pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering-aerobatics
Loss of control in flight (Defining event)

Uncontrolled descent
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

On November 17, 2018, about 1515 central standard time, a North American P-51D airplane, N4132A, was destroyed when it impacted an apartment parking lot while maneuvering near Fredericksburg, Texas. The commercial pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to Pea Hochso LLC and was operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area about the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which originated about 1459 from Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas.

The purpose of the flight was to perform a fly-over of a World War II educational presentation and reenactment. One witness reported that the airplane made a low-level pass and climbed out. As the airplane entered a right bank, it started to "drop." Trees blocked the witness's view and he "waited for the aircraft to climb out of the dive"; however, the airplane did not reappear from behind the trees.

Another witness reported that, following a "very low" pass, the airplane entered a climb, then "all of a sudden he did a roll." The airplane made a slight turn, then entered a vertical nose-down attitude and disappeared from view.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 73, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/05/2017
Occupational Pilot:No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 07/17/2018
Flight Time: (Estimated) 4000 hours (Total, all aircraft)

The 73-year-old pilot held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single- and multiengine land and instrument airplane. He also held an authorization to operate the P-51.

On December 5, 2017, the pilot was issued a special issuance second-class FAA airman medical certificate, with the following limitation(s): "Must wear corrective lenses. Limited Second Class/full Third-Class privileges. Not valid for carrying passengers or cargo for compensation except if serving as pilot of fully qualified 2-pilot crew. Not valid for any class after 12/31/2018." The pilot reported on the application for that medical certificate that he had accumulated 4,000 total hours of flight experience with 60 hours in the previous 6 months.

A review of his FAA airman certification information revealed practical test failures, a certificate suspension for violation of airspace, and a pilot deviation in July 2014, during which the pilot failed to comply with air traffic control instructions. The pilot completed reexamination flights to include one in February 2015. A summary of details from that review is appended to the docket material associated with this investigation.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: North American
Registration: N4132A
Model/Series: P51 D
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:1944
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Limited
Serial Number:122-40985
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tailwheel
Seats:2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/08/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1812.9 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Rolls Royce
ELT:
Engine Model/Series: V-1650-7
Registered Owner: Pea Hochso Llc
Rated Power:
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The accident airplane, serial number 122-40985, was an all-metal, laminar flow, low-wing monoplane. The airplane was powered by a twelve-cylinder, overhead cam, liquid-cooled, V-type, supercharged, Rolls Royce V-1650-7 engine, serial number V-331281. According to copies of logbook entries, an annual inspection was completed on March 8, 2018. As of that inspection, the airplane had accumulated 1,812.9 hours of total time.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KT82, 1695 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1515 CST
Direction from Accident Site: 195°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 3900 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 11 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 190°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 20°C / 10°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Fredericksburg, TX (T82)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Fredericksburg, TX (T82)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1459 CST
Type of Airspace:

At 1515, the recorded weather at T82, about 2.5 miles from the accident site, included wind from 190° at 11 knots; 10 statute miles visibility; broken clouds at 3,900 ft above ground level; temperature 20°C; dew point 10°C; altimeter 30.04 inches of mercury.

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 30.275278, -98.900000 (est)

The airplane wreckage came to rest in a parking lot northeast of T82. Linear witness marks were found on the ground under the leading edges of the wings. The leading edges of both wings exhibited aft crushing. Red and green colored media consistent with glass was found near each wing's respective separated navigation light holder. The engine and propeller were found buried about 5 ft in the ground. The rear section of the engine separated from its front section. The engine's compressor blades were intact. Three of the four propeller blades separated from the propeller hub and exhibited chordwise abrasion and nearby pavement exhibited a witness mark consistent with a propeller strike. One of these separated propeller blades exhibited leading edge gouges. The propeller blade that remained attached to the hub could not be rotated by hand. The empennage was separated from the fuselage forward of the tailwheel. The empennage came to rest inverted on parked cars about 68 ft and 310° from the engine. The fuselage and co*ckpit were fragmented in a debris path between the engine and empennage. Flight and engine control continuity could not be established due to impact damage; however, all observed separations exhibited features consistent with overload. The magneto switch was fragmented; its face plate indicated that it was in the "both" position. The fuel valve was found in the debris path. Some of the fuel lines were separated from the valve body. The fuel bladders were found breached. No preimpact anomalies with the engine or airframe were found.

An Appareo Stratus unit was found damaged in the wreckage; it did not contain nonvolatile memory. A GoPro camera was found within the debris field. A micro secure data (SD) card was not present in the camera but was subsequently located during recovery of the wreckage. The card was damaged and no data could be retrieved.

Medical And Pathological Information

An autopsy of the pilot was performed by Central Texas Autopsy, PLLC, Lockhart, Texas. The autopsy indicated that the pilot's cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries and the manner of death was accident.

Toxicology testing performed at the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory identified 15 mg/dL ethanol in arm muscle and none in thigh muscle. Ethanol is primarily a social drug with a powerful central nervous system depressant. After absorption, ethanol is quickly distributed throughout the body's tissues and fluids fairly uniformly. Ethanol may also be produced in the body after death. Given the toxicology findings, it is likely the ethanol was produce postmortem.

In 2002, the pilot reported having coronary artery disease to the FAA; he had a stent placed in his left anterior descending coronary artery and underwent angioplasty of the first diagonal. At the time of his last medical certificate exam, he reported having high blood pressure and using aspirin to prevent a heart attack, and atorvastatin and ezetimibe to control his cholesterol. These drugs are not considered impairing. The pilot had a cardiology evaluation, including a stress test that did not identify any ischemia, in September 2017. No significant abnormalities were identified on the physical exam.

Additional Information

According to a representative of the Admiral Nimitz Foundation, the accident pilot began flying in support of the foundation's Living History Program (LHP) in September 2017 and had participated in 9 of the 38 shows since that time. The program, which intended to educate the public about World War II, included a reenactment of a beach landing on a Pacific island. The purpose of the P-51 overflight was to "add the aviation element to the show to increase the educational value."

The representative stated that the accident pilot ran a charity that provided veterans with flights in his P-51. The pilot typically flew with a veteran in the rear seat when participating in the LHP demonstrations.


When discussing the flyover on the day of the accident, the pilot and the LHP director discussed "all pertinent FAA requirements, including the 1,000-ft minimum-safe altitude." The flyover flight path was in front of the amphitheater and over the performance area, normally west to east. The pilot would take off about 15 minutes before he was scheduled to make his first flyover. About 1 minute before the simulated island invasion, the LHP director would radio the pilot and give him the "ok" to make the first pass. The airplane normally made 4 to 5 passes during the reenactment.

Location: Fredericksburg, TX

Accident Number: CEN19FA028
Date & Time: 11/17/2018, 1515 CST
Registration: N4132A
Aircraft: North American P51
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On November 17, 2018, about 1515 central standard time, a North American P51 D airplane, N4132A, impacted an apartment parking lot near Fredericksburg, Texas, following maneuvers. The commercial pilot and the passengers sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was destroyed during the impact. The airplane was registered to Pea Hochso LLC and operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area about the time of the accident, and the flight was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated about 1459 from the Gillespie County Airport(T82), near Fredericksburg, Texas.

According to a lineman at T82, the airplane arrived about 0915 for the first time that day. Five flights with passengers were scheduled. Once the first passenger arrived, the pilot took off and returned with no issues. After the airplane shut down, the pilot requested 50 gallons of 100 low lead aviation gasoline per side. The pilot then asked the lineman to assist loading the second passenger about 1050. The pilot then used a ladder to set up a camera on the tip of the airplane's tail. This flight returned without any incidents. Later in the day, the pilot requested further assistance with his third passenger. At 1442, the lineman met the pilot at the airplane where they then used the ladder again to set up his camera. About 1444 pm a passenger arrived at the airplane. They then repositioned the ladder, the passenger was loaded, and the airplane departed the airport. The lineman reported that during this service and the previous services that day, no mechanical issues or oil spots on the ground were noted with the airplane.

A witness in the parking lot stated that the airplane climbed and descended nose down. The airplane impacted terrain and the "back" of the airplane separated and came to rest on nearby parked vehicles. The witness stated that the airplane impacted "so hard" it had "blown up." However, there were no flames.

The 73-year-old pilot held a Federal Aviation Administration commercial pilot certificate with airplane single and multi-engine, and instrument ratings. He also held a FAA second-class airman medical certificate which was issued on December 5, 2017.

N4132A, a North American P51 D, Mustang, serial number 122-40985, was an all-metal, laminar flow, low-wing monoplane. The airplane's ailerons, elevators, and rudder were conventionally operated by a control stick and rudder pedals. The airplane was powered by a twelve-cylinder, overhead cam, liquid cooled, V-type, supercharged, Rolls Royce V-1650-7 engine, serial number V-331281. According to copies of the aircraft's logbook entries, an annual inspection was completed on March 8, 2018. The aircraft had accumulated 1812.9 hours of total time at the time of that annual inspection.

At 1515, the recorded weather at T82, was: Wind 190° at 11 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition broken clouds at 3,900 ft; temperature 20° C; dew point 10° C; altimeter 30.04 inches of mercury.

An on-scene investigation was conducted. The airplane wreckage came to rest in a parking lot about 2.5 miles and 70° from T82. Linear witness marks were found on the ground under the leading edges of the wings. The leading edge of both airplane wings exhibited rearward crushing. Red and green colored media consistent with glass was found near the wing's respective separated navigation light holders. The engine and its propeller were found impacted in terrain about five feet below grade. Three of the propeller blades were separated from the propeller hub. The three separated blades exhibited chordwise abrasion and nearby black top pavement exhibited a witness mark consistent with a propeller strike. One propeller blade exhibited leading edge gouges. The empennage was separated from the fuselage forward of the tailwheel. The empennage came to rest inverted on parked cars about 68 ft and 310° from the engine. The fuselage and co*ckpit were fragmented mostly in a debris path between the engine and empennage. Flight and engine control continuity was not able to be established. However, all observed separations exhibited features consistent with overload. The magneto switch was fragmented. However, its face plate exhibited it was in the both position. The fuel valve was found in the debris path. Some of the fuel lines were separated from the valve body. The fuel bladders were found breached. The rear section of the engine separated from its front section. The engine's compressor blades were intact. The propeller hub was not able to rotate when a its attached blade had a rotational force applied to it by hand.

A GoPro camera mount was found in a grass area north of the wreckage debris field. The mount did not contain a GoPro camera. Another GoPro mount and camera were found within the debris field. However, the camera's SD card was not present.

The Gillespie County Justice of the Peace was asked to arrange an autopsy on the pilot and to have toxicological samples taken.

A Stratus unit was found damaged in the wreckage and will be sent to the National Transportation Safety Board Vehicle Recorder Laboratory to see if it contains data in reference to the accident flight. Additionally, the recovery company subsequently recovered an SD card during wreckage recovery. The SD card will also be sent to the recorder laboratory to see if it contains data in reference to the accident flight.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: North American
Registration: N4132A
Model/Series: P51 D
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Pilot
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KT82, 1695 ft msl
Observation Time: 1515 CST
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 20°C / 10°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 11 knots / , 190°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 3900 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Fredericksburg, TX (T82)
Destination: Fredericksburg, TX (T82)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 30.275278, -98.900000 (est)

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (26)

Cowden Ward Jr. was killed November 17th, 2018 when the North American P-51D Mustang crashed into an apartment complex parking lot in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (27)Vince Losada, left, was identified as one of the victims in a plane crash in Fredericksburg on November 17th, 2018 that killed two. Losada was a World War II veteran.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (28)

World War II veteran Vincent Losada suffered two grim experiences in airplanes: in the first, during the war, he lost his arm; in the second, Saturday, he lost his life.

The 93-year-old San Antonio man was one of two people killed in a plane crash in Fredericksburg. The other, pilot Cowden Clark Ward, Jr., was a 73-year-old Burnet man known for offering free flights to veterans in his vintage, modified Mustang P-51D.

That's the plane the two were in when they crashed into the parking lot of the Creekside Apartment complex located at 707 South Creek Street in Fredericksburg. The collision occurred around 3:15 Saturday, more than 73 years after Losada lost his arm in a mission over Germany.

He had joined the Army Air Corps immediately after finishing high school in Cleveland and became a 1st lieutenant and bombardier on a B-17 Flying Fortress within a few years, according to a brief biography on D. Clarke Evans Photographer’s website. They called his plane “Big Drip Jr.”

On March 15, 1945, he and his group were targeting Oranienburg, Germany. It was Losado's 25th — and as it turned out, his last — mission, according to the website. It was right after they had dropped their bombs that an anti-aircraft round burst near the nose of Losada's bomber, and a piece of shrapnel severed his right arm.

The crew gave him all the morphine they had and applied a tourniquet to his arm. Though he almost bled to death, he said on the photographer's website, he never lost consciousness on the 3½-hour flight back to England. He was then sent back to the U.S. in a ½ body cast. He was treated and recovered in Temple.

Though the mission cost him his arm, he didn't feel bad about it, he wrote.

"I am most proud that I served," he wrote on the website. "The worst day was my last mission, when I was hit, I knew it was serious. I never regretted being in the service, and I never felt bad about my injury. I was just glad I got back alive."

Upon his return, he worked in the budget and fiscal office until his retirement from the Army in 1947, the website said. He worked in insurance after that, first in Cleveland, then, when he decided it was too cold, in San Antonio, until 1969.

He also joined the “Possibilities Unlimited Club” — an exclusive amputee group — in 1948, where he had the opportunity to participate in unique football and baseball leagues, according to a 2015 post on World War II veterans’ memories Facebook page.

In 2017, he got a chance to ride in a B-17 again, a short flight from San Marcos to San Antonio that was part of the national Wings of Freedom tour organized by the Collings Foundation in Stow, Massachusetts.

Waiting for the plane to takeoff, Losada recalled his World War II days.

“The memories are real — just remembering them,” he told the Express-News at the time.

The P-51 he was in when he died was often used to escort B-17 bombers. The National Transportation Safety Board is investing the crash.

Losada's wife, son and two grandsons all preceded him in death, obituary records show.


https://www.mysanantonio.com

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (29)


FREDERICKSBURG, Texas (AP) — The 93-year-old passenger who was killed when a World War II-era fighter aircraft crashed in South Texas had been a WWII pilot, according to group that arranges fighter plane rides for veterans.

The P-51D Mustang had just participated in a flyby Saturday when it crashed in Fredericksburg, about 70 miles (110 kilometers) north of San Antonio. The pilot was also killed.

Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Orlando Moreno on Monday identified the pilot as 73-year-old Cowden Ward Jr. of Burnet and his passenger as Vincent Losada, 93, of San Antonio.

Freedom Flyers posted on Facebook that Ward was flying an "honored passenger, a WWII B17 pilot" when he crashed. Ward was the founder of Freedom Flyers and often flew veterans in his plane, which was deployed in World War II and the Korean War, the group said.

"Cowden was a civilian, but he had the highest respect for our nation's servicemen and women, more than anyone else I have ever known," his friend, Kayla Segerstrom, told the San Antonio Express-News.

Ward's plane, named Pecos Bill, was taking part in ceremonies Saturday organized by the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg. The day included a battle re-enactment showcasing WWII equipment and weapons.

Chris Arntz, an Army veteran who attended the program with his wife and daughter, told the Express-News that Ward's plane had just flown over the crowd when it appeared to nose dive beyond a tree line.

"I told my wife, 'I'm pretty sure that plane just crashed,'" said Arntz, explaining that there was no loud explosion or any other indication of a crash as the program continued uninterrupted. He learned later upon returning home that his suspicion was correct.

The plane crashed into the parking lot of a nearby apartment complex, damaging vehicles. No one on the ground was hurt.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (30)

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (31)

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (32)

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (33)

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (34)

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (35)


Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (36)


Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (37)


Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (38)

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (39)


Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (40)


Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (41)


The pilot from the deadly plane crash in Fredericksburg on Saturday has been identified.Two people, including a WWII veteran, were killed when a vintage airplane crashed into the parking lot of an apartment complex during a World War II reenactmentshow.Cowden Ward Jr. was flying the North American Aviation P-51 Mustang during the re-enactment event put on by the National Museum of the Pacific War when it crashed around 3:15 p.m.

Cowden Ward Jr. is from Burnet and was the pilot and owner of Pecos Bill, the North American P-51D that crashed. According to the Freedom Flyers, Bowden honored over 130 WWII Veterans and Purple Heart Recipients veterans with flights in his P51 - completely free of charge - to thank them for their service to our country. He also did fly-over tributes at WWII Veterans' funerals & events.Cowden Ward Jr. was also involved with the Highland Lakes Squadron CAF.

The pilot's identity was confirmed in a Facebook post by Cal Pacific Airmotive Inc.

It is with a sad heart we share the news of the P-51D Pecos Bill accident that claimed the life of pilot Cowden Ward Jr. and his passenger, a WWII B17 veteran. Our condolences to Cowden's family, the family of his passenger and to the crew at Freedom Flyers. Their mission is to honor those who have served, and they have honored many. Our hearts go out to you at this time.

Oshkosh Warbirds Squadron #32, a chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Warbirds of America division, released the following statement to FOX 7 Austin following the crash.

Cowden Ward was well known in the warbirds (restored vintage military aircraft) community as a person who was truly passionate about honoring veterans. As the owner and pilot of the restored WWII-era North American Aviation P-51 Mustang affectionately known as “Pecos Bill”, Cowden gave countless free rides to veterans in his airplane. He was extremely generous with his time and airplane in doing this for veterans, particularly WWII vets. It was his way to give back for their service to our country. There are hundreds of people all over the country with stories about Cowden Ward’s generosity and passion for honoring veterans. Cowden Ward was the kind of person that others in the warbird community looked up to. He set the bar high as an example of how to honor veterans. His loss is felt very deeply by all of us that own, fly, maintain, or admire vintage military aircraft.

Freedom Flyers released the following statement regarding the passing of Bowden:

"Bowden founded Freedom Flyers it was his mission to honor our nations veterans. He felt honored to be able to own and fly the plane and he wanted to share that with those who served our Nation. Cowden was a civilian but he had the highest respect for our nation'sservice men and women, more than anyone else I have ever known. He was also a member of ICAS, the international council of airshows. He participated in air showsand events across the state and many other states. He would always honor a veteran or two with flights in the 51 at those events. Often times the Veterans he flew were people he had met while showing the plane on static display at these airshows. He could see their love for the plane and he knew how much it would mean to them to get to fly in one. The P51 is considered the Holy Grail of Warbirds and Vintage Aircraft, a flight in one is a once in a lifetime experience for most, and he loved sharing those flights more than anything else"

Original article can be found here ➤http://www.fox7austin.com

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (42)

Vincent Losada

1925 - 2018


Vincent Losada, 1st Lt. Army Air Corp., Ret., was born on May 2, 1925 to the late Perfecto and Elisa Losada in Cleveland, Ohio. In addition to his parents, Vincent was preceded in death by his beloved wife and son, Eleanor and Roy Losada, his grandchildren, Vincent Lee Losada and Christopher Lawrence Losada, and siblings Frank Losada and Emily Weigle. When Vince was 18, he joined the US ARMY Air Corps and after training in various locations across Florida and Texas was assigned to the 487th Bomb Group as a bombardier on a B-17 named "The Big Drip, Jr." Vince flew 25 missions with his crew before being wounded in combat on a mission over the outskirts of Berlin on March 15, 1945. Vince was a Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Air Medal Recipient amongst other campaign decorations. He continued to serve in administrative functions in the Army until retiring with full honors in 1947. Vince married Eleanor in 1946, and at the conclusion of his service worked in the Insurance industry in San Antonio. Vince retired in 1969 and pursued his passion for travel with Eleanor in cross country trips in their motorhome. Vince was a proud and active advocate of the veteran community in San Antonio, and for philanthropic groups who supported amputees and WWII Survivors. Vince is survived by loving nieces and nephews, Frank Losada (Kathleen), Bryon Weigle (Tracy), Michelle Dugdale (Richard), Stacy Weigle and great nieces and nephews Frank Losada (Kelly), Kristin Losada, Michaela Dugdale, Brett Weigle, Sara Weigle and countless friends, advocates, and supporters in the San Antonio and WWII Veteran's communities.A funeral service will be held Friday, December 7, 2018 in the Mausoleum Chapel at Holy Cross Cemetery beginning at 10 am. Entombment will follow. In lieu of flowers please consider a memorial contribution to the Gary Sinise Foundation at garysinisefoundation.org.

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas (43)

Cowden Ward Jr.


Pilots, aviation fans, and Veterans are mourning the loss of well-known and beloved Burnet pilot Cowden Ward Jr. after his P-51D Mustang, “Pecos Bill,” crashed into a Fredericksburg apartment complex parking lot on Saturday, Nov. 17, killing him and his passenger, a World War II Veteran.

Ward, known for his love for aviation and his non-profit organization “Freedom Flyers,” dedicated his time to the nation's World War II Veterans by offering them free flights in Pecos Bill, his way of giving thanks to those who protected our freedoms so long ago.

Ward had recently begun offering flights to Korean and Vietnam War Veterans, as well as Veterans suffering from PTSD after the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars, expanding his motivational reach to many people and making a difference in close to 140 Veterans' lives.

“The past years with Pecos Bill were probably the happiest for him because it was the big mission he wanted to do, which was pay back the Greatest Generation and help mend some of those wounds with some smiles,” said long-time friend and fellow Highland Lakes Squadron Commemorative Air Force member Vernon Rooze. “You take a Veteran in an airplane like that, when they land they are 15 or 20 years younger. An experience like that, getting into the co*ckpit, something you haven't done in 70 years takes you back in time.”

What eventually became a legacy of honoring Veterans started out as a program teaching children how to fly at the Burnet Municipal Airport.

“Freedom Flyers really all started trying to help get youth into the program,” Rooze said. “He started off with simple aspirations just trying to teach young kids how to fly, and as his skills and resources increased he was able to acquire a T-6, and then the P-51 Mustang; he had Pecos Bill close to seven years now.

“Just to get there was a lot of hard work,” Rooze added. “He wasn't an airline pilot, didn't go through a big aviation school, he did it all on his own. He had a drive that just could not be quenched; you couldn't tell him he couldn't do something because he would prove you wrong”

Throughout the years, Ward and Pecos Bill made appearances at many events such as flyovers at football games and performances at airshows, including the Highland Lakes favorite Bluebonnet Airsho, where aviation fans of all ages witnessed the special relationship between a loyal pilot and his warbird for many years.

“No matter where you went, you always saw Cowden,” Rooze said.

In addition to being an accomplished, self-driven pilot, Ward was the Executive Producer of “Last Man Club,” a film about a World War II Veteran, as well as two other films, “The Bay House,” and “Goat Hill Road,” which he produced with Director Bo Brinkman. In a Facebook post on the “Last Man Club” page, Brinkman announced the passing of Ward in a heartfelt tribute.

“Cowden was a lover of life and tried to cram every breathing moment he had on earth into fun, adventure and learning something new every day,” Brinkman said. “He always approached life with a smile and cheerful attitude.”

Community members will forever remember the sound of Pecos Bill rumbling through the sky, and the smile on Ward's face as he rolled past spectators along the taxiway. These memories and the legacy Ward left behind by making dreams come true for our nation's Veterans will assist in the healing of a community suffering a shocking loss.

Pecos Bill's crash and Ward's death come four months after the loss of the Highland Lakes Squadron's Bluebonnet Belle, a 1944 Douglas C47 Skytrain, which crashed during takeoff at the Burnet Municipal Airport on July 21.

Loss of Control in Flight:    North American P-51D Mustang,   N4132A;  fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near   Gillespie County Airport  (T82),  Fredericksburg,  Texas (2024)

FAQs

Loss of Control in Flight: North American P-51D Mustang, N4132A; fatal accident occurred November 17, 2018 near Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas? ›

On November 17, 2018, about 1515 central standard time, a North American P51 D airplane, N4132A, impacted an apartment parking lot near Fredericksburg, Texas, following maneuvers. The commercial pilot and the passengers sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was destroyed during the impact.

What happened to all the p51 Mustangs after the war? ›

As all except the earliest aircraft were obtained under Lend-Lease, all Mustang aircraft still on RAF charge at the end of the war were either returned to the USAAF "on paper" or retained by the RAF for scrapping. The last RAF Mustangs were retired from service in 1947.

How many kills did the Mustang have? ›

American P-51s were utilised mainly as dive bombers, bomber escorts, ground attackers, interceptors and for photo reconnaissance missions, and destroyed 4,950 Luftwaffe aircraft with a kill ratio of 11:1.

Why was the P 51 Mustang such an important part of the Air War on Germany? ›

The long-range P-51 Mustang fighter was invaluable to the Allied victory, enabling resumption of strategic bombing after heavy losses suffered by unescorted bombers in 1943. Developed for export to Britain, models modified by the British to use Rolls-Royce Merlin engines became America's most capable wartime fighters.

How many P-51 Mustangs are still flyable? ›

Of the approximately 15,000 P-51s produced in WWII, over 8,000 were “D” models. Today, only about 150 airworthy examples of Mustangs exist world-wide in museums, flying or under restoration.

Did Tom Cruise fly in Top Gun 2? ›

Although Cruise didn't fly the F-18 while shooting Top Gun: Maverick due to Navy restrictions, he was piloting in the P-51 Mustang during the scene in which Maverick flies with Penny. It's not surprising he was flying the plane, given how well-known Tom Cruise is for doing his own stunts.

What does the p stand for in P-51? ›

The "P" stood for pursuit. It was the first long-range fighter escort, thanks to external fuel tanks, for bombers traveling from England to drop ordnance over Germany. It also was used in China and the Pacific, though late in the war.

Which plane shot down the most? ›

With such a huge number being active in the skies over Europe, Africa, and the Mediterranean, it is also the fighter plane with the most kills in history. Over 20,000 kills have been attributed to the Bf 109, including all 352 planes shot down by Erich Hartmann, one of the most prolific fighter aces of all time.

Was the P-51 better than the Spitfire? ›

In most cases, the Spitfire had better performance as an all-purpose fighter. The all-important climb rate for a P51D sat at 3200ft per minute whilst the Spitfire could climb at an impressive 3650ft per minute. The maximum speed of a P51D was 437mph whilst the Spitfire was slightly faster at 448mph.

What did German pilots think of the P-51 Mustang? ›

Surviving Me109 aces all said that the Mustang was better above 15000ft. Below that, they felt the 109 had the advantage. Of course the Luftwaffe pilots still alive to give an opinion, probably were expert enough to use the 109's advantages like higher rudder authority, slats for low speed maneuvera…

What was the P-51 Mustang's weakness? ›

Well-liked by those who flew it, the Mustang was not without vices; careless fuel transfer could result in an out-of-tolerance centre of gravity and control problems, and the liquid-cooled engine, with its coolant jacket, radiators, and tubing, was far more vulnerable to battle damage than was the P-47's air-cooled ...

Why didn t the Soviets like the P-51 Mustang? ›

The most important reason the Soviet Union did not like the P 51 Mustang was that it was an aircraft for the Anglo-American doctrine of air warfare, not the German-Soviet one. The North American P-51 Mustang is a single-seat long-range fighter of World War II.

How many P-51 mustangs are left today? ›

During WWII approximately 15,000 P-51 Mustangs were produced. Today, however, there are around 150 airworthy aircraft remaining, and they're located around the world either in museums, flying, or are being restored.

How many P-51 Mustangs were lost? ›

During World War II, a total of 1600 P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft were lost in combat. This iconic American fighter plane played a crucial role in the air battles of the war, particularly in the European and Pacific theaters.

Does Tom Cruise still own a P-51 Mustang? ›

Tom Cruise is a licensed pilot with qualifications as a multi-engine instrument-rated pilot and helicopter flying skills. Cruise owns a collection of airplanes, including a vintage P-51 Mustang fighter from World War II and a Gulfstream IV G4 jet.

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