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Classic Wings Magazine WWII Naval Aviation Research Pacific Luftwaffe Resource Center
When Hollywood Ruled The Skies - Volumes 1 through 4 by Bruce Oriss


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:59 am 
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So sad.....my deepest condolences to the family and friends!!!!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:27 am 
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Condolences to the Family, friends and the Aviation Community

Vaya Con Dios

Jesse C.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:31 am 
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Thoughts and prayers for the pilot and family! Sad loss of life and history!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:42 pm 
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Extremely unfortunate. Will be an interesting NTSB report.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 5:03 pm 
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Sad... was at POF last week and talked with the pilot about flying the N9MB.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:06 pm 
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That is very sad and rough news to hear and my condolences to everybody affected by this loss. I always enjoyed seeing it fly.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:34 pm 
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Heartbreaking indeed.

I never knew a lot about this airplane except that it was an astonishing thing to know was still operational, and I loved it for that plus other reasons that should be fairly easy to guess. I'm sad to say I know even less of who flew it. Can someone please tell those of us who out of this loop about that pilot? Seems like a bit of a tribute wouldn't be out of order just now.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:12 pm 
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Pogo wrote:
Heartbreaking indeed.

I never knew a lot about this airplane except that it was an astonishing thing to know was still operational, and I loved it for that plus other reasons that should be fairly easy to guess. I'm sad to say I know even less of who flew it. Can someone please tell those of us who out of this loop about that pilot? Seems like a bit of a tribute wouldn't be out of order just now.

I assume you know who it is from your statement, but for now I’ll refrain from saying the name until POF’s formal statement is released. I didn’t talk to him much but saw him plenty around the SoCal warbird scene. He was a very good pilot, trusted by many to fly their planes. Seems like he had a soft spot for P-40’s. Also very knowledgeable about the mechanic side of things. Really a huge loss to Planes of Fame and our community. One of those guys that knew a ton and loved spreading history. Never heard a bad thing about him.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:09 am 
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So sad, especially for the pilot's family.
The Wikipedia page says they built 4 of these, I assume this was the only survivor until recently?
If so, this is exactly why I have always contended that if something is the last in existence, it shouldn't be in the air.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:04 pm 
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I have always contended that if something is the last in existence, it shouldn't be in the air.


For me, this is a "What were they thinking?" moment. To take a very rare and irreplaceable aircraft and give it one or several flights to demonstrate the quality of an expensive restoration and be able to add "flyable" to your advertising is one thing, but this airplane was flown for two decades.

What happened was more-or-less inevitable: fly a 50+ year old experimental design long enough and sooner or later something will go wrong. This airplane did not have any vertical stabilizing or control surfaces, which means there is less chance of recovery when any one of God-knows-how-many-things-might-go-wrong goes wrong.

There already was an inflight fire in 2006, which should have been a good time to say 'we have stretched our luck enough...' Not only was the aircraft being put at risk, but of course there was the pilot as well.

I think the Planes of Fame Museum has failed us. There are other more recent and still vintage flying wings that could have been flown in the N9M's stead (the Mitchell U-2 Superwing comes to mind), with a reminder to the airshow audience that a NORTHRUP FLYING WING is at the museum for all to see. Now it's not.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:25 pm 
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Would'a, Could'a, Should'a

They chose to fly it, no one was saying ground it and something terrible happened. But that is not always the case. We don't know what happened and speculation is in bad taste at this moment.

Should we ground all rare aircraft? Stop the sale of the XP-82? Halt the Restoration to Airworthy of the P-61? For one, we don't own them and have no say so about it, and second, we love to see this type of stuff fly as intended. Support your Museums and Air Shows, but don't sound the Alarm to start grounding planes.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:07 pm 
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There's a lot of discussion about this all over for obvious reasons. There's sides for flying it, sides against flying it. Not my airplane and I don't decide what to do with it, but a very rare and more or less difficult plane to fly like that I would have kept flying VERY minimally, a sort of best of both worlds thing. Once at the show every year for a few passes and sit her down. I also think that flying it anywhere outside the perimeter of the airport is pushing luck too far if anything happened to go wrong and there wasn't anywhere suitable to land it (which doesn't seem like the case here, but who knows how the outcome would have changed if it was in the pattern at Chino).

The big thing here is the lack of distress call that has been noted in a few reports. The official report will shed plenty of light onto this I would assume, but as of now there is no telling if anything was actually wrong with the plane.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:22 pm 
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If Ed Maloney had not rescued it, it wouldn't even have existed.

We are grateful to have had the experience of it flying for many years.
:)

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:37 pm 
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http://www.aerotechnews.com/blog/2019/0 ... te-prison/

This article lists the pilot as David Vopat. Sad.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:04 pm 
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GRNDP51 wrote:
There's a lot of discussion about this all over for obvious reasons. There's sides for flying it, sides against flying it. Not my airplane and I don't decide what to do with it, but a very rare and more or less difficult plane to fly like that I would have kept flying VERY minimally, a sort of best of both worlds thing. Once at the show every year for a few passes and sit her down. I also think that flying it anywhere outside the perimeter of the airport is pushing luck too far if anything happened to go wrong and there wasn't anywhere suitable to land it (which doesn't seem like the case here, but who knows how the outcome would have changed if it was in the pattern at Chino).

The big thing here is the lack of distress call that has been noted in a few reports. The official report will shed plenty of light onto this I would assume, but as of now there is no telling if anything was actually wrong with the plane.

From a pilot proficiency standpoint, that's not great advice. If it's difficult, it needs to be flown often enough to be proficient. I'm kind of leaning in favor of grounding the one-offs, but I'd highly suggest that one offs should be made available on some sort of indemnification plan to reproduce a copy to fly.

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