ANCHORAGE - Air Force Lt. Gen. David McCloud appears to have been flying too low in an unfamiliar plane when he crashed while doing some aerobatics in July of 1998, the National Transportation Safety Board says.
McCloud and a passenger in the Russian-built plane were killed. He was the highest ranking military officer in Alaska at the time of his death. McCloud was flying side-by-side with another aerobatic plane that day, taking photographs, the NTSB said.
McCloud decided to perform some aerobatic maneuvers when the photo session was over and spun into a stand of trees near a drop zone on the Army's Fort Richardson, investigators said.
The probable cause of the accident was an inadequate response to an inverted spin, the agency said. Contributing factors were lower than recommended entry altitude for a spin and the pilot's lack of familiarity with the new airplane, NTSB officials said.
McCloud had 16.6 hours in his single-engine YAK-54 although he had 6,000 hours of total flying time, the lion's share in jet fighter planes, investigators said.