Warbird Abuse?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by GrauGeist, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I came across a photo and discussion at Facebook today, regarding a pilot who was stunt flying a P-51D. Facebook - Sierra Hotel Aeronautics

    Snorts_lowpass.jpg


    While I think Dale "Snort" Snodgrass (U.S. Navy, ret.) has exceptional skills as a pilot, I disagreed about a recent photo of him stunt flying a P-51D ridiculously close to the deck, clearing the port wing by only several feet.

    My point is that warbirds (and thier pilots) are disappearing at an alarming rate, and if he wants to bust out a few wild stunts like that, do it in a modern aircraft (and certainly not where he'd be putting others at risk). I think there's too many random elements that can make an adrenalin filled buzz pass go horribly wrong, no matter how skilled a person is...

    I'm just interested to see what other's thoughts are on this.
     
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  2. model299

    model299 Member

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    Is that photo legit???

    I say that because of the proximity of the Mustang to that twin, and to the golf cart. I have a hard time believing any pilot, no matter how foolhardy, would be THAT foolhardy.
     
  3. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    :shock: THAT IS LOW!!!!!!!!:shock:
     
  4. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Apparently you don't know Dale Snodgrass very well.

    Try Googling "Dale Snodgrass Low Pass" and see what comes up. He's been doing this for YEARS in everything from F-14 Tomcats down the side of an active Navy Carrier to MiG-17's to P-51's and F-86's, etc. Dale has not hit anything and has been doing this stuff for more than 25 years in high-performance airplanes.

    When you're good, you're good, and Dale IS good. If the owner is OK with low passes, and the pilot is OK with low passes, and the FAA is OK with low passes, and the Airshow Air Boss is OK with low passes, why do you think it is abuse? Why not enjoy the airshow?

    I surmise that if it were YOUR warbird, you'd not let Dale fly it in an airshow. Somebody else would bo doubt step up and fill in the blank spot so the rest of us could enjoy it. So enjoy! It ain't abuse, it's a great pilot doing his thing with an aircraft that was loaned to him for the purpose.
     
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  5. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    If that is a real shot, it's way too low for my comfort level. There is zero margin for error at that altitude, regardless of the aircraft. That being said, Snort is exceptional pilot. If anyone can pull off a maneuver like that, it is Snort. What is bothersome is that some other pilots of lesser skill who may try something like it, and hurt or kill someone doing it. Even great pilots can make mistakes and I have a memorial list of some. I am okay if they want to do something like that in a Pitts, or a Lancair or something like that, but i hate to see a P-51 flown like that. Do we know if that is a real WWII Mustang, or one of the "new" ones that have come out one of the fabrication shops?
     
  6. model299

    model299 Member

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    The perspective MUST be off in that picture, because he looks REALLY close to that red twin. Also that golf cart.

    I did what you suggested Greg.

    Wowzers. :shock:
     
  7. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Greg, Jimmy Leeward was an outstanding pilot, but sadly couldn't save his P-51 when trouble struck and as you may know, was a VERY accomplished pilot.

    There are WAY too many variables that can occur when piloting an aircraft and putting Excaliber (or any warbird) at risk, is foolhardy, in my opinion.
     
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  8. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    I can believe the shot, having seen a kiwi Tiger moth pilot pick a handkerchief off the ground with a small hook attached to the wingtip at an airshow display.

    A Mustang being somewhat faster than a Tiger Moth however, he has absolutely NO safety margin, as Eric said. If the pilot comes a cropper for his own bravado, well, he knew the risks, but aircraft like Mustangs don't grow on trees.
     
  9. chris mcmillin

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    Looks good to me, a nice slip down the ramp at low altitude in the middle of the envelope. The bottom line is that some guys are just better than others!
    Chris...
     
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  10. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Doesn't matter how good the pilot is, if the engine cuts they're screwed.

    with all the recent air show accidents, I could see the FAA ruling acts like this out.
     
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  11. chris mcmillin

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    Why would the engine quit?
    Why would the airplane crash if the engine did quit?

    Chris...
     
  12. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #12 GregP, Jan 27, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012
    Jimmy Leeward was flying a HEAVILY modified P-51. The modifications were his own and the decision to use ONE trim tab instead of two to stabilize the aircraft cost him his life as he apparently lost his only functional trim tab obviously in slow-motion film. The pullup was 10 - 13 g's and he passed out and was a rider as the Ghost went down. At least, that's the way the NTSB is looking at it, if we can believe the rumors. We'll know for sure when the NTSB report comes out. I loved Jimmy and The Galloping Ghost, but the crash was an ACCIDENT apparently caused by modification to the airframe combined with wake turbulence that exceeded the limits of the single trim tab attach points.

    Dale is flying a stock P-51 with the stock TWO trim tabs and no cutting of wing, aileron, or tail. So each is absorbing HALF the load of Jimmy's trim tab. So, I don't see what you are trying to say. Dale ain't flying at Reno in a race ... he is making a low pass as only a very few pilots can do well. Dale is one of them who can.

    What are you saying? That Dale is doing something dangerous? What is your proof? He is certified to do it by the US Navy, the FAA, the Warbirds Owners Association, the airsbhow air boss, and anyone else who matters. No hits on Dale's record for a LONG time, even on a golf cart.

    All that equals no abuse ... just great flying ... sort of like Bob Hoover when the FAA idiot in Hillsboro, Oregon said that Bob had lost his "cognitive abilities." Four years later the President of the USA ordered the FAA to reinstate Bob's license when he flew airshows all over the world except in the USA in his usual impecable style for YEARS.

    Better back off from Dale Snodgrass. You'll lose the fight. And we'll watch with appreciation when he does OUR airshow at Chino.
     
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  13. MikeGazdik

    MikeGazdik Member

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    I wish I were in that golf cart!
     
  14. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Greg, I think you missed the point here...

    I ALREADY stated that Snort is an VERY accomplished pilot. A point that you keep harping on. He's good, but he's not perfect in the respect that the weather is no respector of persons. He's experienced but cannot predict mechanical anomolies. Yes Jimmy's Stang was modified, but it failed and down he went. The world was suddenly without a great pilot and one less Mustang...

    The point that I am making here, is that doing risky stunts in a priceless warbird, no matter how good the pilot is, is jeopardizing the dwindling numbers of warbirds. Would you feel comfortable if he was doing that stunt in the CAF's Zero? Or how about Glacier Girl? I sure as hell wouldn't.

    It seems to me that these surviving warbirds should be guarded as national treasures, and while I am a proponent of keeping them flying and not stuffed away in a museum or hangar somewhere, operate them with moderation and out of harm's way.
     
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  15. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Greg, RELAX. You've totally missed the point.
     
  16. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    Whats on the port side of pic
     
  17. MikeGazdik

    MikeGazdik Member

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    Grau: I generally don't frown on this, but I would NOT want to see Glacier Girl doing this!!!
     
  18. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    I don't know if the pic was Photoshopped or not (look at the plan's shadow) but to me it's much too risky. For both the pilot and plane, not to mention those on the ground.

    What's that they say about "old, bold pilots" ?

    Charles
     
  19. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Why does any engine quit during flight? In this case I would assume the loss of engine power that close to the ground + reaction = loss in altitude = crash.
     
  20. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    Why? When an engine stops, aircraft don't come to a juddering halt, and fall out of the sky, they can normally fly on, at least for some distance, while the pilot looks for somewhere soft to put it down.
    A C.A.F. CF-104 pilot (who regularly flew at near-zero altitude) told me once that there were 20+ red lights, which meant an immediate bang-out, but he said that your first reaction was to pull back the stick and gain height, before checking to see what the light meant, and he'd had to do it. The 104 was known for, engine-less, having the flying qualities of a house brick, but he still had time to carry out the correct procedure, and live to talk about it.
     
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