WWII plane with German markings crash lands on LA freeway (VIDEOS)

The 101 Freeway in Los Angeles County’s Agoura Hills this week was the scene of a bizarre small plane crash.

The pilot of the craft, Rob Sandberg of the non-profit Condor Squadron of Van Nuys, was uninjured and walked away from the aircraft before it reportedly burst into flames. While decked out in German Luftwaffe-style markings, the aircraft was, in fact, a North American AT-6/SNJ Texan, a WWII-era trainer flown in numbers by the group.

While footage shows most of the airframe destroyed, the group notes that the aircraft was “badly damaged” and that it conducted an emergency landing on the 101 just past the Liberty Canyon exit, “following an engine failure.”

According to local media, the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident. The Condor Squadron, founded in 1962 by a group of former fighter pilots, flies the AT-6 over memorial services, parades, and veterans events, sometimes using planes in period “enemy” markings for mock dogfights. Below is a video from their website of their AT-6s in action.

“During the Second World War tens of thousands of young men trained to be U. S. Army pilots and Naval Aviators in the Texan,” notes the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum about the type. “After advanced training, they went on to operational units where they refined their skills before flying in combat in Europe, Asia, and the Pacific. Without the Texan or an aircraft very much like it, it would have been difficult to train the enormous number of pilots required to conduct the extensive aerial campaigns that characterized a vital portion of the war against Germany and Japan.”

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