"Thunder Mustang" Destroyed in Fatal Crash
with great sorrow we have to report that Papa 51
Corporation pilot, Dale Clarke, and his passenger, John
Whitney, were fatally injured when their aircraft, the
prototype Thunder Mustang, crashed on May 30th near the
town of Marsing, Idaho. The cause of the crash is
under investigation by the FAA and NTSB. Papa 51 Corp
(aircraft manufacturer) and Ryan Falconeer (engine
manufacturer) will assist in the investigation. The
scaled down P-51 Mustang look-alike, was designed by
Kitfox creator, Dan Denny. Thunder Mustang test pilot,
Dave Morss, issued this statement: "I have
been in contact with Dan Denny and although the wreckage
has been recovered at this time, no apparent or obvious
causes [for the accident] have been
The prototype had logged over 400 in the two years since it's completion, 200 of those had been flown by Clarke. In a statement made to the Boise- Idaho Press-Tribune, Dan Denny said of Clarke: "He had flown a lot of airplanes..........He was an excellent, excellent pilot."
This was the same aircraft flown by Dave Morss at Reno in 1997 and was favored by many to win the newly christened Sport Class racing event at this year's Reno National Championship Air Races. A company spokesperson states that a second aircraft is nearing completion and Papa 51 Corporation will remain in business.
Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the families and friends of the victims.
AAFO will update this story as more facts become available.