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NTSB Unable to Recover Onboard Video From Leeward Crash

October 24, 2011 – The NTSB announced that it was unable to recover any images from cameras that were mounted on Jimmy Leeward’s modified P-51 Galloping Ghost that crashed at the Reno Championship Air Races in September.

The badly damaged cameras and memory cards were recovered from the debris field at Reno and initially the NTSB had hoped to retrieve at least some images from the memory cards. But the damage was too great.

The Board also announced that it is still working to recover data from an onboard performance data recording system. The memory card from that unit is also damaged but it may still be possible to retrieve some data about engine operation and other parameters. The system in the airplane also used telemetry to transmit performance data back to the Leeward ground crew in real time and that data has been recorded and is being studied by the NTSB. Any data from that system will be included in the public docket the NTSB will make available as it continues its investigation.

The Board said it is reviewing dozens of videos and hundreds of still photos of the accident sequence that were shot by spectators at the races. The NTSB never speculates on the cause of an accident, nor does it predict how long the investigation will take. A typical NTSB investigation of a major accident requires about a year for the Board to report a probable cause.

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