Former aerobatic jet champ dies in California plane crash

Mike Mangold died in a plane crash on Sunday.

Mike Mangold died in a plane crash on Sunday.  (Apple Valley Fire Protection District)

A former champion aerobatic jet pilot with more than 30 years of cockpit experience in U.S. Air Force and commercial planes died Sunday when his L-39 jet crashed shortly after takeoff from a California airport, Victor Valley News reported.

Mike Mangold, 60, was piloting the plane when the crash occurred around 2:20 p.m. in Apple Valley, the Apple Valley Fire Protection District said.

A second person killed in the crash has not been publicly identified.

Mangold won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in 2005 and 2007 and later served as a commentator and coach, according to RedBull.com.

An Outstanding Graduate of the “Top Gun” Fighter Weapons School in 1983, Mangold flew F-4s in the Air Force and piloted Boeing 757s and 767s for American Airlines later in his career.

He is survived by a wife, Julie, and two children, Nick and Melissa, according to Victor Valley News.