Pilot dies when plane crashes at airshow

March 27, 2011 at 8:40 AM
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FLAGLER BEACH, Fla., March 27 (UPI) -- A pilot with at least 4,000 hours of flying experience died when his military warplane crashed at an air show in Florida, officials said.

William E. "Wild Bill" Walker was flying his Russian Yakolev Yak-52 warplane when it fell out of formation and crashed Saturday as the Wings of Flagler air show was about to conclude for the day, the Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal reported.

"He was in a dive when he was supposed to pull, and he didn't pull out for some reason," said Roy Sieger, director of the Flagler County Airport, where the show was held. "They did everything by the book, but unfortunately it's one of the drawbacks to this business."

Walker -- a real estate developer from Cookeville, Tenn. -- was flying with his Red Thunder Air Show Team. Witnesses said his aircraft failed to pull up from a maneuver and crashed in a ball of fire.

The crash will be investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

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