Warbird Tragedy... Vlado Lenoch and Bethany Root Lost in P-51, 'Baby Duck' | Aero-News Network
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Warbird Tragedy... Vlado Lenoch and Bethany Root Lost in P-51, 'Baby Duck'

Accident Occurred Day After Amelia Earhart Festival...

ANN regrets to report that one of the warbird world's 'good guys' has been lost in a non-airshow related accident as his P-51 'Baby Duck' went down for unknown reasons.

Just as tragic, Lenoch was accompanied by Bethany Root, 34, an exemplary aviatrix who was about as devoted an aviation professional as we know... who also perished in the accident. Vlado Lenoch, an expert warbird pilot, Heritage Flight participant and well-known P-51 airshow performer, was 64, and lived in Burr Ridge, Ill. Bethany Root was 34 and was the manager of the Amelia Earhart Memorial Airport in Atchison, KS.

Precious little is known about what occurred. The aircraft impact took place about 1030 local time, in an unoccupied field some 2.5 NE of Cummings, KS -- less than 10 miles from the airport. Most of the airframe seems contained in one area and there is no evidence of inflight breakup.

The accident took place the day after the Amelia Earhart Festival in Atchison County, KS. A statement from law enforcement suggests a northwesterly debris path and photos of the scene show the aircraft fragmented extensively due to apparent ground impact.

According to the Air Force heritage Flight info page, Lenoch's bio was even more impressive than we remembered... "Vlado Lenoch of Burr Ridge, Illinois is married with three children. His love of aviation began in 1970 when, at age 17, he learned to fly at Chicago’s Midway Airport. He earned an aeronautical engineering degree from Purdue and a Master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following college, he was employed at the Boeing Commercial Airplane Company in Seattle as a 747 instructor. From that point, he was employed at two major airlines flying the Boeing 727 and Douglas DC-9 aircraft. Currently, he flies a corporate Citation jet for a private company in Illinois.

Lenoch is a licensed Airline Transport pilot with flight instructor ratings in single and multi-engine aircraft, instruments and gliders. He holds authorization for the B-727, Cessna 525, F-86, A-1, A-37, L-39, T-33, P-40, P-47, P-51, F6F, F4U and T-28 aircraft. Vlado has over 11,000 hours of flight time and has built his own aircraft, a Pitts S-1T biplane, which he competes in at the highest level.
 
A member since 1997, the year in which the Heritage Flight program was founded, Vlado is one of the most seasoned pilots. He has been a director in the FAST Fighter Formation program since 1990 and an ICAS and EAA Warbird Aerobatic Competency Evaluator since 1995. Vlado is a lifetime member in the Commemorative Air Force, Soaring Society of America and Experimental Aircraft Association. Vlado’s great uncle, Cvitan Galic (of Czech ancestry), was a 39-victory Luftwaffe Fighter Ace in the Me-109 in World War II.

Ms. Root was an extremely dedicated aviator who weathered career adversity to take up her aviation passion. And, frankly, she was a hoot to trade flying stories with...

ANN will have more to report when credible info becomes available.

Both Lenoch and Root we were well known to ANN and friends to several of our crew... we're stunned with this news and wish all those who called them family or friend our deepest condolences...

FMI: http://www.airforceheritageflight.org/team/vlado-lenoch

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