Author Topic: Pilot killed at Stuart Air Show: ‘Absolutely nothing we could have done’  (Read 1263 times)

Offline KB4TEZ

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thoughts with the family and the Stuart Air Show
A pilot was killed Friday in a crash ahead of the start of the Stuart Air Show. The air show will resume as planned on Saturday, organizers said.

STUART — A pilot was killed Friday after his plane nosedived and slammed into a runway during preparations for the Stuart Air Show, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office said.

The opening night of the three-day event, which was to start at 5 p.m. Friday, has been canceled.

The crash is the first in the 30-year history of the air show, county officials said. Several law enforcement and federal agencies are investigating the incident.

The plane involved in the crash is a Grumman OV-1 Mohawk, the sheriff’s office said. The name of the pilot has not been released pending next-of-kin notification, but the air show’s website states the Mohawk is flown by Dr. Joseph Masessa, 59, of West Palm Beach.
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said the pilot is a male and is either “from West Palm Beach or here,” referring to Martin County. He said Friday afternoon that the pilot’s name has already been published on social media, but declined to confirm an identity.

Records show that Masessa owns several dermatology practices in Palm Beach County including offices in Jupiter, Loxahatchee and Boynton Beach. A woman who answered the phone at Masessa’s Boynton Beach office said, “We’re not giving out a comment at this time.”

Snyder said “we think we know” the pilot’s identity but “in the abundance of caution” his agency would wait until the medical examiner’s makes an official determination.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s posting for Masessa’s “airman’s certificate” says he is certified for single- and multi-engine planes, and specifically for the Mohawk.

Without providing a name, a Martin County official said the pilot had previously flown at the Stuart Air Show.

Video of the crash shows the plane nosediving behind a tree line before exploding. The National Transportation Safety Board wrote in an email that the crash took place around 1:15 p.m. as the plane was approaching Witham Field, where the air show is held.

“Our fire department personnel were [at the airfield] and got there as fast as possible,” Snyder said during a news conference televised by WPTV, The Post’s news partner. “There was absolutely nothing anybody could have done.”

A photo posted by the sheriff’s office shows the demolished plane on the ground with its wings detached and debris scattered nearby.

The FAA is investigating, and the NTSB will determine the cause of the crash.

“We’ve had an incident involving one of our aircraft,” Stuart Air Show said in a tweet Friday afternoon. “All local and federal agencies are on site and investigating so that we may ensure the safety of our airshow before we continue.”

Organizers later tweeted the air show will resume as planned on Saturday, and that tickets for Friday night’s show would be honored on Saturday.

The Mohawk was to perform at 12:24 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, according to the air show’s schedule. The plane is a twin-engine turboprop that, before it was retired, was used as a military observation and attack aircraft.