Related topics

Small planes collide and crash during air race

June 23, 1997

WESTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) _ Two small airplanes competing in a race collided in flight and crashed in flames Sunday during an air show on Long Island, killing one of the pilots and critically injuring the other.

The single-engine planes, two of four circling a race course at the Wings Over Long Island show, crashed away from spectators at Francis Gabreski Airport, said Suffolk County Police Officer Jack O’Connor.

``The wing of one plane clipped another,″ said Tim Ryan, a spokesman for the Suffolk County Executive Robert Gaffney.

The cause was under investigation, although witnesses said winds had picked up just before the crash.

Dick Goodlett, 51, of Louisville, Ky., was burned over 90 percent of his body and died at University Hospital-Stonybrook Sunday night, hospital spokeswoman Ellen Barohn said.

Chris Kalishek, 38, of Madison, Wis., was hospitalized in critical condition with extensive injuries to his face and body.

The four planes were following an oval course marked by pylons, flying only 50 to 150 feet above the ground at speeds up to 180 mph.

``They were going around Pylon 2. ... One plane climbed up and hit the other plane, they were vying for position in the last lap,″ said witness Don Lewis.

``The planes are very flimsy, they’re very tiny,″ Lewis added. ``The wingspan is 17 1/2 feet. It’s like you wear the airplane.″

The two-day show was suspended after the accident.

Update hourly