Vintage plane crashes in Virginia


Two vintage planes, apparently the same type as in one of the most famous scenes in Hollywood history, collided over the weekend in Virginia, authorities say.

Four people were slightly injured in the crash of the biplanes in Fauquier County, Va., state police said.

The collision near the site of an air show in the Bealeton area happened Saturday morning as one of the dual-wing two-seaters took off and the other landed, according to state police.

After the planes, both described as Stearmans, collided, one of them flipped over, police said.

In the world of aviation, Stearman refers to the Stearman Model 75. It was built by the thousands in the 1930s and 1940s and, with its tandem seats, was used for flight training, notably during the Second World War.

According to an online reference, a Stearman was one of two brands of aircraft used in a famous scene from the classic 1959 film “North by Northwest.” In the scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller, Cary Grant is chased by a dusting biplane.

Eventually, he is saved when he crashes into a truck on a rural road.

An online reference indicates that two different brands of aircraft were used for the sequence. One was used for the flight scenes and the Stearman for the concluding shots when the sinister plane hits the truck and is destroyed.

According to the reference, after the war many Stearmans were used in agriculture in the 1970s.

Saturday’s crash in Fauquier happened along the 5100 block of Ritchie Road, state police said. Photographs from the scene show the two yellow planes a few feet apart in a grassy field. One is upside down, with both wheels pointing up. Neither seems to have taken much damage.

The pilot of the landing plane was a 62-year-old man from Warrenton, Va., state police said. He and a 50-year-old woman who was his passenger were both treated at the scene for minor injuries.

The pilot of the plane taking off, a 62-year-old man from Chesterfield, Va., and his passenger, a 14-year-old girl, were also treated at the scene for minor injuries, according to state police.

It is not known why the accident happened and it is being investigated, state police said in a statement Saturday.

The Ritchie Road address given for the collision is close to that of the Flying Circus Airshow. According to the organization’s website, an annual hot air balloon festival was to be held there on Saturday and Sunday. An air show was scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m.

It was not immediately possible to know if there was a connection between the two Stearmans and the predicted events.

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