Navy Trainer Crashes, Killing Two
Dec. 03, 1996
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) _ A Navy plane practicing touch-and-go maneuvers crashed near a runway Monday, and a witness said the engine was ``making all kinds of noise'' before the accident. Both crew members were killed.
The single-engine, turboprop T-34 went down about 300 yards from a runway at Maxwell Air Force Base during clear weather, base officials said.
It was conducting a training exercise in which the plane touches down briefly on the runway and takes off again, Capt. Robert Gonzalez said.
An Air Force civilian engineer, Joe Madison, said the plane was about 100 feet above the runway when its loud engine noise attracted his attention.
``It was spitting and sputtering and making all kinds of noise. It sounded like the engine wasn't right. It turned on its side, banked to the right and the nose went down,'' Madison said.
It ended up with its front end crumpled on an abandoned taxi strip overgrown with grass.
The plane had come from the Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida, 150 miles southwest of Montgomery. Capt. William R. Grace and his student, 2nd Lt. Massimiliano Belvisi of the Italian Air Force, were killed.
It was the third military crash in 1 1/2 weeks. On Nov. 22, an Air Force Reserve HC-130 transport crashed into the ocean off California, killing 10 people; one man survived. On Nov. 27, a National Guard F-16D fighter crashed in southern Ohio; both crew members parachuted to safety.