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Pilot killed in crash at Travis AFB air show

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Pilot killed in crash at Travis AFB air show

Old 5th May 2014, 11:32
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Pilot killed in crash at Travis AFB air show

From USA TODAY:

Pilot killed in crash at base air show

Pilot killed in crash at base air show
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Old 5th May 2014, 14:17
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I know I'll catch heat for saying this, but low-level aerobatics at 77?
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Old 5th May 2014, 17:44
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Seems from video to take a long time for Fire & Rescue to be on the scene The a/c was lying upside down for a period of time before fire broke out. You'd have thought at an airshow Fire Vehicles would have been very close to the display line. Sad whatever
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Old 5th May 2014, 18:02
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I know I'll catch heat for saying this, but low-level aerobatics at 77?
Considering your age, I won't. You just don't know any better.
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Old 5th May 2014, 20:40
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Nothing to do with age my young friend, Eddie was a master. RIP.
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Old 5th May 2014, 20:54
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The issue is was he STILL a master at 77, my aged sage of a friend.
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Old 6th May 2014, 08:14
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Reflexes diminish with age, that's a fact, if you deny that then...

However, it is too early to imply age was a determining factor in this crash, time will tell.
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Old 6th May 2014, 09:26
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I agree, aviatorhi, and I wasn't suggesting this accident was caused by his age (or was due to any kind of pilot error). I was only wondering if this kind of flying is a good idea at that age regardless of result.

It's just that I live in Central Florida, and get to watch 77-year-olds trying to park at Publix®...
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Old 6th May 2014, 20:33
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Unkind flyboyike!


"The issue is was he STILL a master at 77, my aged sage of a friend."


Sadly not any more old chum, not any more. We'll miss him.


As for your comments about 77 year olds parking, try not to judge all demographics as the same. That would be a mistake, there are experts and idiots in all groups. Eddie was as good an aerobatic pilot at 77 as any one in the airshow business today.


Another seasoned veteran is Bud Granley. I'm sure he would get a chuckle by your ignorant and shallow comments.
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Old 6th May 2014, 20:42
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Try to debate the issue and keep emotion out of it, Gemini. There are all manner of things one can do at 77, I'm not sure why aerobatic flying has to be one of them. Now, I can understand when crusty, half-dead airline captains display the "you'll pry that yoke out of my cold, dead hands" attitude (they have ex-wives to feed), but to keep playing with a Stearman? There comes a time to say when.
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Old 7th May 2014, 01:29
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Flyboy

Keep the emotions out, but insulting and condescending is OK, eh?
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Old 7th May 2014, 01:50
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There are some 39 year olds who shouldn't be flying. I knew Eddie, and I'm sure he could park a car at Publix. He was a careful pilot. I'll be waiting to see what the NTSB says.
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Old 7th May 2014, 02:00
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So, there is no possibility that a 77yo might "remember his moves better than they are"? Is that what y'all are telling me?
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Old 7th May 2014, 15:29
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This accident has really got me to thinking about why these accidents keep happening over and over and to some of the best pilots in aviation.

So after much soul searching I am going to try and explain what I think is the core reason they happen.

First off I post using my real name and my opinions are formed from actually having been an air display pilot for eight years and known and flown with some of the best in the world.

When Glen Dell died last October I was in a state of disbelief for weeks and kept looking at a picture I have of Glen and his wife Jackie and me and my wife Penne on a sail boat in Cape Town smiling and happy as kids.

As the months passed and I have slowly accepted that these things happen and Glen is gone and my wife has gone because of cancer I keep wondering why some of us go on and some do not.

There is no real clear answer, however with regard to air show accidents there are several factors which do definitely add to the risk that can be changed.

In Europe we had a 200 foot floor at all airshows that was very strictly enforced , had there been the same 200 foot floor limit at the airshow in which this pilot died he would still be alive.

Only about one in a hundred spectators have a clue about the skills needed to perform any of these displays, so why add to the risk by performing at an altitude that allows for no error?

As the age thing my thoughts are that yes, as we age our motor skills decay.

I held an unrestricted airdisplay authority for eight years and when I turned seventy I made the decision to retire because of age.

Was I still capable of flying to the same standard?

The examiner who renewed my air show license signed me off as competent....but inside I had changed and felt it was time to quit so at the end of the 2005 season I did just that.

Now I sit and just plain miss those who were not so fortunate.

Being the best in the world is not everything because once gone the crowd soon forgets who you were.

Chuck Ellsworth.
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Old 7th May 2014, 15:37
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Originally Posted by Chuck Ellsworth

The examiner who renewed my air show license signed me off as competent....but inside I had changed and felt it was time to quit so at the end of the 2005 season I did just that.

Now I sit and just plain miss those who were not so fortunate.

Being the best in the world is not everything because once gone the crowd soon forgets who you were.
Exactly, Chuck, exactly. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

I realize that we all, as pilots, at least privately, believe that each of us is the very best in the world, and that when we hang up the goggles, the world will suffer a loss from which it won't soon recover, but really isn't it better to gracefully exit stage left than to burn up in an airplane? Does anyone truly prefer the latter?
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Old 7th May 2014, 15:44
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flyboyike , I guess it all reverts back to the decision making process that we use to stay alive in this industry, the decision to retire based on examining the facts we have to examine is no different than cancelling a trip because the risk was to high.
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Old 7th May 2014, 15:50
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Indeed.

It's just that the decision to retire or even any suggestion to consider any such thing is taken by some as some sort of a personal affront, an assault upon their manhood etc.

Flying is a skill set, only a skill set, and a very perishable and degradable one at that. The suggestion that one gets progressively worse at it after a certain age ought not be taken personally any more than a thunderstorm ought to be taken personally.
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Old 7th May 2014, 16:48
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flyboyike, I think I know where you are coming from and your points have validity. However out of respect for Eddie I will refrain from further comment.
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Old 7th May 2014, 17:03
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Feel free to keep this particular pilot out of it (as I have), try to debate the issue, not the individuals.
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Old 7th May 2014, 17:57
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Skills do deteriorate with age, but not at the same rate for everyone. Some pilots begin their career with a higher level of capability and set of skills than others. Blanket statements don't apply to individual pilots.

One of my last flights as an airline captain was with an FO who couldn't enter a hold. I had to take the aircraft from an experienced, ex-USAF, four engine jet, aircraft commander. He didn't even have the grace to say goodbye or apologize for his display of ineptness, temporary or otherwise. He is still there and I have been gone from the airline's left seat for 10 years. That is only one of many similar stores. I know there is a limit, but I hadn't reached mine. I also recall flying with some captains when I was a young co-pilot who should have pursued another profession. Age was and is only a portion of the capability equation.

Now, 10 years later at age 70 I still fly a 747 and a DC-8 doing airborne science research, ironically for the same government that mandated airline pilots retire at age 60. I also fly my own 185, primarily in the backcountry.

Do I know my own limitations? Yes. Am I going to retire again? Yes, but on my own terms and not because of an arbitrary decision based solely on age alone. Meanwhile, I have the best hobby job on the planet that isn't motivated by Flyboy's insulting claim that older airline pilots have ex-wives to support.

As long as I meet the training standards, check standards and operational requirements, I have been allowed to fly. I enjoy it immensely and they enjoy the experience that I and others like me contribute to the operation. What concepts.

Sincere condolences to Eddie's friends and family. RIP
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