Folks, it didn't break up in mid air and if one of the wings had come off it would be in the condition it's in. It looks pretty much intact. To me, it looks like he had some control and it crash landed on it's belly. I haven't seen all of the pictures but it's pretty intact. It certainly wouldn't be if a wing had've come off. It's going to wind up being something freaky. And if the debris field is miles long it's not much debris. If one of the children is missing and presumably sucked out in midair then I'd say something went wrong with a door. But everyone here is speculating.
@Gene Nowak: Maybe your confusing a runway at the Prarie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, TX (W's) to the runway that WAS built by LBJ at his ranch in the Texas Hill Country. The 707 never landed there but smaller jets being utilized as Air Force One did on occasion.
@Gene Nowak: You're absolutely wrong. And it's people like you who write and say things they have no knowledge of that causes others to rant and rave about complete falsities. There is no runway built at the ranch of George W. And whoever told you that or started that rumor is in my opinion idiotic. Do you really believe that would not have been a media firestorm if it had happened? Air Force One flew into the TSTC Airport (CNW) almost exclusively when W went home to his ranch in Crawford. This is the former James Connally Air Force Base. Next time, get your facts straight before posting.
@Alistair Morrison; the system you are referring to is not remotely for any type of lightweight, general aviation aircraft. Especially a Skybolt, which as I hope you know, is a lightweight aerobatic biplane with fabric covering. I agree with Boyd Butler. This is written by someone who doesn't have the faintest knowledge of anything aviation related. The typical term for what this pilot did would be something more like "bailing out" or "bailed out" or something along those lines.
@ Zany4God, these race planes carry a very minimal amout of fuel while racing. This is to save weight. The minimal amount on board at takeoff was used so there was not much reamining in the tanks. There was also a water system on board for cooling and that could be a reason for no fire. The vaporiziation of the water. Just speculation. @John Ward, many people have noticed the tail wheel being in the down position. It has been discussed quite a bit on other websites, etc. @Gianni Giorgio,sorry, you're wrong!!! The tail wheel on P-51 does retract.
KXUL, with a 5000' runway, is a little more than an airstrip. But cetainly not an excuse. What really blows my mind is that someone, somewhere in Colgan's management has decided not to use one of the most reliable, if not the most reliable, navigation system. Really, if you don't want to spend the many thousands of dollars for an installed GPS at least give them a 696. Since this is a pretty benign incident there probably won't be much media reaction but what if they'd landed long and thought they had 6500 feet. That extra 1500' would have been the difference beteen damage and death or injuries and life and no damage. Then the media would be all over it and the first question would be where is the GPS or why wasn't there GPS on board. Of course all of this conjecture is based on Chris Trahan's remark they they do not have any GPS.