The preliminary report from the NTSB regarding the tragic accident of 2 aircraft flying in a formation of 5 aircraft that crashed shortly, after departure from the Spruce Creek Fly-In was released on Tuesday.
According to the report, the flight leader ordered the pilots to reposition their planes to avoid the suns’s glare. As the aircraft realigned two of the planes collided and crashed .
The very experienced airline pilots were both killed . The Cessna was flown by Gary Somerton, a current United Airlines pilot with 14,620 flight hours and the Grumman was being piloted by Anne Edmonson. She had retired from the airlines and had logged over 11.000 flight hours including the 747
One of the aircraft in the formation said he heard the flight leader over the radio say
“Cleared to cross ” He observed the Cessna fly to the left “slow and normal ”
The Lynx pilot said he stayed with the Cessna and when it was nearly in the left formation line he saw it move in position behind the Grumman.
Suddenly he saw “parts” flying back toward his aircraft on the ride side.
The Grumman appeared to go into a loop. the flight leader saw the Cessna falling.
Somerton and Edmonson were praised by James Clark , who said he was acting as a spokesman for the plane- centric community .
Preliminary report can be found here