Aircraft Were Not Part Of Any Performance Team
The pilot of the T-6 Texan that failed to recover from a
formation loop has been identified as Dr. H. Evan Zeiger, Jr, of
Birmingham, AL. Dr. Zeigler, 60, held a commercial pilot
Family friend Dr. Joe Carnley told the Panama City News Herald
that Dr. Zeiger and his wife, Peggy, vacationed in the area near
the crash. Mrs. Zeiger is believed to be the passenger in the
accident, though medical examiners have not confirmed her
Dr. Carnley also dispelled any idea that the T-6 was a part of
an air show performance group. He explained that the aircraft
owners were merely friends with a common interest flying together
Original Story: Some details have yet to be
released but a North American T-6 Texan impacted in the Gulf of
Mexico about a half mile from shore on Saturday. The warbird was
seen flying as a part of a five-plane formation doing aerobatic
maneuvers over the water.
Around 12:20pm the aircraft were observed flying just off the
coast of Topsail Hill State Park in the Florida panhandle.
Witnesses report the aircraft impacted the water just after
completing a loop.
File Photo of T-6s Flying in Formation
The Coast Guard reported two bodies have been recovered from about
50 feet of water. The identity of those aboard, and any
airshow team affiliation, have not been released.
12-year-old Claire Escobedo witnessed the incident and told the
NW Florida Daily News that she was videoing the planes from the
beach when the incident occurred. The 30-second clip has been
turned over to investigators.
"I was just watching him with the camera and then he went into
the water," said Miss Escobedo. "We all got scared when he
went into the water."
The T-6 is a nearly legendary single-engine low-wing retractable
tail dragger used as a training aircraft during World War II and
through the 1950's. The plane has been featured in several major
films and is popular on the airshow circuit, both as an individual
act and in airshow demonstration teams.