Planes of Fame Hellcat crash

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Sep 17, 2004
Moorpark, CA
An F6F from the Planes of fame crashed in Tennessee over the weekend, killing the pilot. Word is that Art Vance was the pilot.

The plane that crashed Saturday on the median of Interstate 40, killing its pilot, was a 1944 Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter plane registered to the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, Calif., said Kathleen Bergen of the Federal Aviation Administration office in Atlanta.

Authorities still had not released the name of the pilot yesterday.

Museum spokesman Larry Greene said yesterday that he did not know who was flying the plane when it crashed. The plane had been part of the museum's collection about 40 years, he said.

Traffic was backed up for more than five hours near the site of the accident about five miles east of Cookeville as emergency crews worked, Department of Safety spokeswoman Melissa McDonald said. Traffic in the rugged area was heavier than usual because of fans leaving the University of Tennessee game in Knoxville.

The plane leaked fuel onto the interstate, which caused authorities to close all westbound lanes at one point, she said.

Emergency officials put out a fire at the site. And all lanes were closed for a time as power crews worked to restore lines the plane hit as it descended, McDonald said.

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