Official doesn't think plane broke down


A federal investigator says a preliminary examination has found no evidence that there was anything mechanically wrong with the stunt plane that crashed Sunday at Martin State Airport in Middle River, killing the pilot.

Dennis Jones, the National Transportation Safety Board air safety investigator in charge of the case, said yesterday the airplane's wreckage was hauled to a hangar at the airport after the accident.

A preliminary study of the aircraft there, he said, "hasn't disclosed any evidence of malfunction."

The state medical examiner's office said yesterday that the pilot, Jack Buford Poage, 62, of Westminster, died of "multiple injuries" in the crash, which was ruled accidental.

Poage, an experienced aerobatics pilot and instructor, was performing stunts in the Czechoslovakian-built stunt plane before a crowd of more than 15,000 spectators gathered for the Upper Chesapeake Air Show and Sea Food Festival.

Jones said he has reviewed one of several amateur videotapes made available to investigators after the crash.

He confirmed that, in the tape, the airplane's engine can be heard accelerating just before the crash as the pilot apparently attempts, too late, to pull out of the fatal dive.

The tape also shows that Poage made at least one more spin than planned during the dive.

"It looks like the airplane did more than three spins," Jones said. "From what I understand, he was to do three spins . . . I can't comment on whether it [the additional spin] was intentional or not."

A preliminary NTSB report on the accident could be ready as early as Friday, but a final report is expected to take no more than 90 days, he said.

Investigators are examining the airplane and its maintenance record, the pilot's overall ability, experience and medical history.

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