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Air Clinic spectators realize they witnessed pilot's final takeoff

Posted at 9:42 PM, Jul 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-20 23:13:42-04

A busy day at the Sheboygan County Memorial Airport to watch vintage planes turned deadly after a crash. 

That crash killed the pilot and injured two people on the ground.

Spectators out to see the planes did not even realize what they witnessed until after they saw the skies filled with smoke. People like Glen Hildebrand came to the airport earlier in the day to watch the plane formation.

“That’s what I’m normally here for cause I’m kind of interested in World War II aircraft,” said Hildebrand.

The official release from the Aviation Heritage Center of Wisconsin invited out the public and warned: “a very busy, busy and intense day for pilots.” 

But as Mark Berlin and his wife were watching the planes two of them caught their eye.

“We watched the two jets take off and the last one was a little on the wobbly side when he took off,” said Berlin.

The people at the airport thought everything was O.K. at first. But a neighbor realized something was very wrong.

“He was just skimming the tops of the trees as he was coming across. And I said to my daughter, ‘He's going to crash,’” said Al.

At the airport they never heard the collision. 

“All we could see was the black smoke. We knew something wasn’t right,” said Berlin.

Berlin said they did call for all the planes to be grounded. That is when he started looking for the vintage jet to land.

“We figured it was him because he didn’t return,” said Berlin.

The Air Clinic with the vintage is expected to go on Saturday and Sunday. This is the schedule of events put out by the Aviation Heritage Center of Wisconsin:

Saturday, July 21
(Practice and Evaluation of formation pilots
10 a.m.  T28 and CJAA four sorties
1:30 p.m. First T28 Big Wing Flight …CJAA 4 ships flights  
2:30 - 4:30 p.m.  More Flights, Pilot Evaluation, Warbird on-ramp maintenance and repair as needed
5 p.m. AHCW Closes to public

Sunday, July 22  
(Final Day of Preparation for Air Venture Flights and for a few to pass evaluation to receive a Formation Wing Card)
9:30 a.m. Four ship evaluation and practice flights begin
1:30 p.m.  Big Wing Flight Practice for Air Venture Arrival
2:30-3 p.m.  Four ship evaluation and practice flights
4:00 p.m. AHCW closes to the public for Pilots dinner