Plane’s inability to climb preceded Henderson crash, report says

A vintage military plane failed to accelerate and was unable to make a normal climb last week, leading to a crash shortly after takeoff from the Henderson Executive Airport, a preliminary accident report released Wednesday by the National Transportation Safety Board shows.

The BAC-167 Strikemaster jet crashed and caught fire about a quarter-mile south of Volunteer Boulevard just before noon July 24 while on the way to an Air Force exercise in Washington state.

The commercial pilot, whose name was not released, survived with minor injuries, and no one on the ground was injured, authorities said.

The aircraft, registered to Blue Air Training, landed upright, but was “consumed by fire” and destroyed, according to the board’s preliminary findings. The aircraft was moved to a secure location for further examination; a final report is pending.

The NTSB report said the plane was headed to Reno/Tahoe International Airport, but an Air Force spokeswoman said last week that the Blue Air Strikemaster was “on the way to supporting a routine exercise for close air support combat training in the state of Washington” when it crashed.

Blue Air Training is a military contractor that provides “close air support,” the company’s chief pilot, Scott “Tool” Hanes, confirmed.

Blue Air and an affiliated entity, Attack Aviation Foundation Inc., own the four Strikemasters registered in Nevada. Neither company has previous accidents, according to FAA records.

Contact Art Marroquin at or 702-383-0336. Find @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter.

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