This airplane was originally sold by Walter Soplata with the proviso that it never be flown. Admittedly it was just a hulk, but he sold it to a quasi-museum--somewhere in Ohio, I think--that planned to restore it completely but indeed did promise to never fly it. When the "museum" failed and in turn sold it to Odegaard, apparently all bets were off. So now it's flown, it's gone, and only one Goodyear FG-1D Corsair remains. (Incidentally, they were never named Super Corsairs. That's a popular fiction.) That one will continue to fly until it too inevitably crashes. Does anyone care?
First a deadly crash at Reno last year killed spectators and threatened the viability of the event future post crash. Now this awful tragedy. I suppose the obvious question to ponder is whether these were isolated incidents, or are some of these piston warbirds becoming too failure prone to provide an acceptable degree of safety? How many more "expert pilots, crack air racers," will die trying to go faster just to win a race or lop a loop or entertain a crowd? Those public gatherings seem so small, when I imagine the pain his family feels today?
It is salient to recall that these WW-2 hot rods were built in an era where ergonomics were decades away, where the inherent assumption was that they'll either be shot down, or wrecked in a takeoff/landing accident, after a statistical average number of hours. They were not built to last for decades, the way Boeings, Cessnas or Bombardiers were. They were expected to be used up during or shortly after the hostilities ended. Whenever I hear one of them fly by, its Merlin growling, I cannot help but think of all the brave men who fought and died in them, the genuine heros of aerial combat.
My heart goes out to his family, who now must go it alone without their leader, their irreplaceable north star. My God bless and keep him. Take him now to your glory, where his pain no longer troubles his soul. Lord, please give him wings to fly again.
Surrey, British Columbia
The people that have adverse comments about vintage aircraft obviously do not appreciate the high level of restoration and condition they are in. There is the throwaway disposable rubbish society that is more of a burden to refuse dumping in landfills and at sea, and those of us that maintain and take care of our possessions, and in cases of the warbirds not only for their own pleasure but the pleasure of others.
They are high profile accidents and as per the Reno accident somewhat negligent in not managing risk towards others, but how many thousands of warbird aircraft are fastidiously maintained and cared for. They are tested properly and as per the "hotrods" as mentioned, well planned and minimized risk to others that enjoy the racing events and risk mainly to the pilot.
Some may write off someone in their sixties but many are fitter than me in my forties!. It is definitely advisable in the seventies, even in good health to stop the high G stuff and fly for pleasure again putting too much risk on others.
Is your car in excellent condition? Have you ever driven until the wear indicator on the tyres is past the wear indicator and do you inspect them before you drive, every time. Have you ever driven with something not quite right and pulled over?
Obviously more people die on the ground then in the air. Just because you don't go up and down does not mean you will not kill. Again obviously these "hotrods" rarely kill anyone else. Next time you buy a new car with all the plastic fantastic interior and carbon fiber bits and pieces, even if the metal is recycled where does all that plastic and electronic stuff go, to be stuffed in a landfill or dumped at sea.
Thumbs up to the warbirds society and condolences to the Odegaard family.