Pilots Dieter G., 72, and Michael S., 42, were seasoned flyers who had bagged the world championship title in vintage aerobatics in 2019.
Two planes crashed into each other during a training session for a "mirror flight" tragically killing both pilots. Michael S42, and Dieter G, 72, died while practicing a complex maneuver in their two aerobatic stunt planes which collided mid-air before tumbling to the ground. The horrific crash took place close to the Leumnitz airfield in Gera, Germany shortly after 6 pm on Saturday, September 24, reports The Sun.
Both pilots were seasoned flyers and had been flying in formations for years. In fact, they even bagged the world championship title in vintage aerobatics in 2019. A mirror flight is when one aircraft flies parallel to the second one. In a dramatic clip, the planes were seen flying parallel before an elaborate maneuver goes awry. The planes then collided and crashed into each other and got stuck together as they plummeted to the ground.
After the crash, black smoke could be seen spreading from the crash site. Emergency services rushed to the scene, according to Bild. Firemen put out the fire at the wreckage site that was just a few feet from residences in the Thränitz district. The cause of the crash is yet to be determined. Experts at the Federal Institute for Aircraft Accident Investigation and the Gera criminal police have taken over the investigation.
According to aircraft accident expert Norman Kretschmer, "there is no evidence of a technical defect" as of now. "We have secured traces of deformation on the wings that indicate a massive collision,” Kretschmer said. Aviation expert Andreas Spaeth shared their insights, adding, "It looks as if both pilots wanted to train a common figure in aerobatics with their aircraft. Then, apparently, there was a collision. Contrary to what was to be expected, no visible parts have broken off. It's more like the two machines got stuck and became unable to manoeuvre and then crash linked together."
Gera e.V. aviation club paid tribute to the late pilots on social media, writing, "We mourn our flight mates Micha Storek and Dieter Geipel, who died in a tragic accident yesterday. They weren't just flight mates, they were friends, family, flight instructors, a team and above all unique. Their loss leaves a huge void. We thank you for your dedication, commitment and every single moment we have shared with you. It was an honor for us to know you and fly with you. You will be greatly missed. Your aviation friends and family of the Gera e.V. aviation club."
Cover Image Source: Twitter | @green_grap