Not checked out on this machine

It is hard to be funny on a day like this. Our heart goes out to all the victims of yesterday’s crash at Reno and their families and friends.

I’ve seen some comments underneath the various newspaper articles I read today that go along the lines of “I’m not surprised, airhows should be banned, it’s a waste of ressources, etc.”. To those people I would like to say a heartfelt shut up! I dread the coming discussions about how to make our lifes 99.96% instead of 99.95% safe.

From my observation, aviators are probably the most attentive, watchful and knowledgable bunch of people I know when it comes to safety. That probably comes from the fact that they’re used to having the lifes of others as well as their own life in their hands. On the other hand, aviation will never be 100% safe. No human activity will ever be.

So we raise our flag to half mast today. We salute Jimmy Leeward and the other dead and our hearts and minds are with the ones left behind and also, especially, with those that were injured. We wish you a speedy and complete recovery!

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11 comments on “Not checked out on this machine
  1. Geoduck says:

    At this point we don’t know WHAT happened to cause the accident. Yet, like you I keep reading these comments about how it was the old plane, it was the old pilot, it was this or that.

    I agree, all of the yokels can just shut up while the professionals investigate.

  2. Speedsix says:

    Seems like an elevator trim tab has failed and tore off, thus inducing an instable flight situation. This is clearly visible on some pictures from the race.
    My compassion goes out to those who have lost a friend and / or relative at this crash and my best wishes to recover quickly to all those who have been hurt at this crash.
    Also: Pity for the Gallopping Ghost, IMHO one of the most beautiful reno racers ever.

  3. Would be interesting to find out how many of those saying we should stop air shows are still supporting Nascar, Formula 1, Rally racing and heck, even horse racing. In all of these spectators have been injured or tragically killed, yet they still go on.

    This has definitely been a terrible year for deaths at air shows/races but that doesn’t mean we should stop them entirely.

  4. Jim Hammond says:

    Really sad. Note the extended tailwheel, as well as the missing tab. I wonder how they are related?

  5. flugasche says:

    Reno’s accident showed dramatically that aircraft are tools and not toys.

  6. mike says:

    Even athletes in American Football get killed (head trauma and such). I know the people flying in the race are aware of the risks they take and I am sure most of the spectators are as well. Having those F-4’s and P-51’s zip right over your head at 500mph is part of the attraction. And you’re fooling yourself if you think you can make 60 year old WW2 aircraft 100% save.
    Even though this accident is tragic, I am hoping this sport will go on. I believe that airshows are important for aviation as they get the public in touch with this wonderful job/hobby/fascination…..whatever it may be.
    I get so tired of things getting over-regulated to create a higher illusion of safety. I see it in my business every day. And people still die because the nature of the business is inherently dangerous.

    Btw, I totally disagree with “flugasche”. Tools, or toys, …. not relevant. They’re machines and they break from time to time just like your lawnmower does (which I am sure has hurt more people this year than airplanes did….)

  7. England says:

    May I put some horse sense into this discussion, a lorry (sorry US truck) is involved in a crash, it makes the local or in the case of the UK national news services if on a motorway (that’s a freeway in the US I think). The next day its forgotten, even if a horse has died. A few bleeding hearts might express grieve, but life goes on. But bring aviation into the equation, and we have armchair experts expressing negative layperson opinions. People involved in aviation, or any sport or business should make sure that the appropriate regulators are kept informed of informed opinion and that regulators are not allowed to jump on the latest politically correct band wagon.

  8. Geoduck says:

    “And you’re fooling yourself if you think you can make 60 year old WW2 aircraft 100% safe.”
    This applies equally to a 1 month old Cessna or 747 or Prius too. Life is dangerous.

  9. JP says:

    “Shut Up” is more than a bit too mild, and I shall refrain from saying what really should be said.
    They don’t want any dangerous racing? send them to Switzerland…then they’ll wet themselves when they realize the citizens are all well armed. More people are killed by back yard swimming pools than airshows.

  10. JKelley says:


    I find NASCAR, F1, et al to be a greater waste of resources than airshows – but I actually enjoy airshows. Racing around in a circle or an oval is not my idea of a good time (however, I could see the draw of a recurrence of the old Cannonball Coast-to-Coast Memorial Trophy Dash…)

    NOTHING is 100% safe – and for that, I am glad. With great risk comes great reward – I’m not an adrenaline junky, but I do enjoy the feeling that results from having rolled the dice and they come up in your favour…

    “Old plane?” I’m willing to bet good money that that “old plane” sees more maintenance in a year than most people’s cars will see in ten…

  11. Austrian_Blob says:

    It’s actually more likely to get killed in a trafficaccident than in a planecrash

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