Warbird pilot and restorer Bob Odegaard captured the hearts of many who knew him, and his death in the crash of his Super Corsair (Race Plane 74) on September 7 left many of his friends with deeply empty feelings.
Odegaard was known for his playful, positive nature and his penchant for pithy quotes, such as this description of engine trouble during a practice run at the Reno Air Races. While still sitting in the cockpit after the incident, he said, ruefully, “It was running better than it had ever run before… until it didn’t.”
A memorial service last week at the Commemorative Air Force museum in Mesa, Arizona, drew 800 people. A video (shown below) posted on YouTube by his friend Alan Ripa honors Odegaard, telling the story of his humble start as a cropduster and how he become one of the most respected and loved members of the warbird community. The video includes a tribute song written and recorded by Ed Newberg.