A Frisco pilot was killed when his plane crashed during an air show in eastern Iowa, authorities said Sunday.
Glenn A. Smith was flying a Soviet-era retired military jet in the Quad-City Air Show in Davenport when the crash occurred, the Quad-City Times reported. Authorities said the jet was flying in formation with other members of the HopperFlight jet team when it failed to pull out of a 45-degree bank and crashed into a field north of Interstate 80 at about 1:25 p.m. Saturday.
Assistant Davenport Police Chief Don Schaeffer said at a news conference Saturday that the plane flew directly into the ground.
"He never had an opportunity to come out of it," he said.
Nobody on the ground was hurt, but crowds watching the show saw the plane go down and erupt in flames.
Schaeffer estimated parts of the plane were strewn over an area up to 220 yards, or a tenth of a mile. Schaeffer said he had no information about what may have caused the crash.
"We don't see anything mechanical at this time, but we want to make sure we have it documented, have it collected," Schaeffer said. "Obviously, it's wide open; it could be mechanical, it could be pilot error, but we don't see anything of that nature. [We] want to look at it forensically, do an autopsy. Maybe we can do something if it was medical."
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.
Smith was CEO of the Warbird Educational Foundation that owned the Soviet-era jet he was flying.
A squadron of planes flew over the crash site Sunday in the "missing man" formation before the air show continued.
Smith was known as “Skids” by his HopperFlight teammates.
Their website said their mission is to inspire kids to work hard and aim high by educating them about jets and flying.
The group sent NBC 5 a statement that read in part: "'Skids' was a careful and very accomplished pilot and was rated in a variety of airplanes. He always went out of his way to achieve the Hopper Mission.”
NBC 5's Ray Villeda contributed to this report.