Two dead after vintage Lockheed Electra plane crashes at Californian air show 

Angel DiBilio / Shutterstock

A World War Two vintage aircraft crashed during a Father’s Day air display being held in California, killing both occupants onboard. The incident occurred as the Lockheed 12A Electra Junior twin-prop aircraft performed a display at the ‘Pops and Props’ event being held at the Yanks Air Museum in Chino, California on June 15, 2024. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said a twin-engine Lockheed 12A crashed shortly after departing Chino Airport (CNO) in California around 12:35 on June 15, 2024. The aircraft is reported to have stalled as it lifted off the runway, with its left wingtip striking the ground before the aircraft nose impacted the runway with the aircraft coming to rest alongside the runway’s hard surface.   

Alan Wilson / Wikimedia Commons

“The plane took a nosedive, and the first part of the plane that hit was the left wing. And what happened was an immediate explosion, like a big fireball with black smoke,” said an eyewitness at the event, speaking to local media outlets.  

“Shortly after noon yesterday, one of our aircraft was involved in an accident in an unoccupied field near Chino Airport resulting in two fatalities aboard the aircraft,” said a statement issued by the Museum following the accident.  

It added that the museum authorities said that they would be working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to determine what caused the plane to crash. 

Although those who died were not initially identified following the accident, those involved with the museum confirmed to local media that one of those who died in the accident was Frank Wright, the Chief of Operations at the Yanks Air Museum. The sources said that Wright had just participated in a panel discussion at the Father’s Day event at the museum before the crash.  

The museum’s Lockheed Electra 12A (also known as the UC-40 by the US military) was registered as N93R. The type is a low-wing monoplane that was the first twin-engine aircraft built by Lockheed. The most famous Lockheed Electra was purchased by Purdue University in the US for Amelia Earhart. She and the airplane vanished on July 3, 1937, during her ill-fated around-the-world flight attempt. 

The aircraft involved in the Chino accident was obtained by the Yanks Air Museum in 1998 and its restoration was completed in 2006.  

The FAA has confirmed it is to carry out a full investigation into the cause of the fatal accident involving N93R.   

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