P-51 Mustang crashes at National Championship Air Races in Reno, Sept. 16, 2011. Photo courtesy Reno Gazette-Journal
LAS VEGAS (AP) - A highly modified vintage aircraft was pushed beyond its structural limits before it crashed into spectators at last year's National Championship Air Races in Reno.
PHOTOS: Plane crash at Reno air race
That's among the findings being presented to the National Transportation Safety Board on Monday in Washington.
Loose screws on a crucial tail assembly are also blamed in the September 2011 crash that killed 74-year-old pilot Jimmy Leeward and 10 people on the ground and injured more than 70.
This year's Reno Air Races start Sept. 12.
The five-member NTSB has already issued several preliminary reports and recommendations for the Federal Aviation Administration and race organizers to improve safety.
NTSB officials say Leeward's World War II-era P-51 Mustang fighter reached 530 mph before it pitched skyward and then slammed nose-first into rows of box seats.
The Associated Press