Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A bad summer for warbirds

Coming on the heels of that beautiful B-17 burning in that Illinois field last month, now we have a P-51D Mustang colliding with a Douglas Skyraider and augering into the ground in Britain.

Fortunately the pilot survived. But the Mustang? Total loss. The Skyraider that it collided with didn't come away unscathed, either.

Very sad.


  1. There's something to be said for increasing formation separation when you're flying irreplacable, million-dollar, historic aircraft.

  2. This was a case of in-attention in the cockpit, both airplanes broke formation, the Mustang pulled tighter than the AD-1 and the AD-1 (blind on the bottom remember), clipped the tail. And it was GOOD that both survived.

  3. I lament the loss of the Mustang but really glad no one was hurt.

  4. Nit-picking, but Aaron: formation is flown with the frame of reference the other aircraft. Close or wide, it is still formation and the wing-man's responsibility it to watch the leader and trust him. You don't need to be looking elsewhere. Closer is actually easier to fly than maintaining a wider interval.

    More nit-picking: NFO, they didn't "break formation". The maneuver was a planned pitch-up, usually to take spacing for landing. The AD hit the lead aircraft, not the #3. It wasn't a "blind" situation but apparently either a cockpit distraction or inattention.

    Really a shame to see the loss and now await the bleating from the preservationists that we must ground all war-birds and park them to rot in the sun somewhere in front of a VFW hall.

    Don't even get me started on the USAF and National Museum of the USAF resistance to the Collings Foundation's efforts to restore an F-105 to flyable condition. They've done quite nicely with their A-4, F-4D and F-100F.

  5. Duxford sure has been the place were alot of planes and pilots have been killed.

    Remember that P-38 that crashed doing rolls on the deck.


  6. The Spad driver still gets stud points for getting it on the ground, gear down and right-side-up, despite the a/c being sans a big chunk of wing.

    I'm surprised the aileron remained attached.

  7. Mr. Rasimus: I stand corrected.

    Like you, I prefer warbirds in flying condition. Nothing like seeing living history in the air.

    Also, thanks for helping to bring Robin Olds' story to the rest of us. Just read Fighter Pilot again and it's like you're in the cockpit with him.