Two airplanes practicing for an air show collided over Delaware Bay July 10, leaving one pilot dead and the other still missing at press time.
The two were part of a six plane group that took off from Sussex County Airport (GED) at Georgetown, Del., earlier in the day. They were members of the Vultures Formation Team, a group of pilots who build experimental aircraft and fly them at air shows. John Lemieux, manager of Jimmy’s Fly-In Grille at GED, said that the group comes there almost every weekend, practicing and then reviewing videos of the sessions at the restaurant.
Witnesses to the accident said the group had just completed a routine in which two three-plane formations approached one another head-on, one passing below the other. Video appears to show that one pilot misjudged his altitude and, in an effort to avoid another plane, touched its wings, although it is not yet clear exactly what caused the collision.
The airplanes that collided were a Rutan-designed Long-EZ and a Vans RV-8. The Long-EZ was flown by Jay Blum of Berwyn, Pa., near Philadelphia. While his body was pulled aboard a fishing boat at the scene, the body of RV-8 pilot Ralph “Mustang” Morgan had not yet been recovered as this issue went to press. Morgan lived at Rehoboth Beach, Del., and had been flying with the Vultures for four years.