8 November: Prominent
warbird pilot, restorer and owner of
Aviation Nelson Ezell passed away. In the business since 1986,
Nelson and his talented company were responsible for many exemplary
aircraft restorations over the years, including Corsairs, Sea
Furies, Mustangs, Bearcats, Lightnings, and more. In 2015, he was
inducted into the EAA Warbirds of America Hall of Fame. In 2017, he
was seriously injured in the crash of a Sea Fury.
28 November: A 1936
Ryan PT-20 (ST-A), N14984,
suffered a propeller-strike during a landing in Modesto, California,
USA. Damage to the aircraft appeared to be minimal.
After nearly 40 years of
service with the Boeing corporation, the company's two
Lockheed T-33 chase planes
are being retired. The company announced the 66-year old jets would
be replaced with something else due to maintenance supply-chain
2 February: An
Aeronca 65-TC Defender, N27336,
made a runways excursion after landing in Barstow, Oklahoma, USA.
The aircraft was not damaged and the pilot was not injured.
12 February: A
Boeing B75 Stearman, N1450HP,
suffered an engine failure while performing aerobatics, and the
pilot performed an emergency landing in the desert near Gold Canyon,
Arizona, USA. The pilot was not injured, and the aircraft was not
15 February: A
North American SNJ-6 Texan,
N452WQ, experienced a ground loop and runway excursion after landing
in Kissimmee, Florida, USA. The aircraft suffered minor damage, but
neither of the pilots was injured.
23 February: The Flying
Leatherneck Museum, a collection of military aircraft located at
MCAS Miramar in California, has announced that it is closing soon.
The museum director gave "finances" as the reason for the closure.
It is not known what will happen to the collection. [News
25 February: A
Dassault Mirage F1B, N601AX, operated by defense contractor
Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC), was reported to have had
a landing gear issue that resulted in a belly landing at Tyndall
AFB, Florida, USA. During the incident, one pilot ejected and the
other remained with the airplane -- both survived, but are reported
to have been injured. The aircraft was seen on a tracking website to
have taken off, then spent some time circling over the Gulf of
Mexico before returning to base, implying a possible landing gear
at "The Drive" site >>]
28 February: An Aero
Vodochody L-39C Albatros, N43722, made a gear-up landing at St.
Petersburg, Florida, USA. Neither occupant of the airplane were
injured. The aircraft sustained moderate damage.
5 March: An
Aermacchi MB-326M (Atlas Impala
Mk II), N155TP, operated by the National Test Pilot School,
crashed into open desert near Edwards AFB, California. The two
pilots successfully ejected.
17 March: General Des
Barker, a test pilot, prolific safety advisor, and author of two
influential books about airshow/display flying safety, died along
with another pilot in the crash of a rare
Patchen Explorer near Swartkop Air Force Base, South Africa. The
aircraft was operated by the South African Air Force Museum. Both
pilots were highly experienced. Among other works, Barker wrote
"Zero Error Margin" in 2003, by far the most comprehensive
written examination of high-performance display flying in existence.
His newest book was "Anatomy of Airshow Accidents." [News
link>>] [Ed. Note: General Barker's influence in the
airshow community was huge, and he will be missed. Our condolences
to his family, friends and associates.]
14 April: A 1959
Hawker Hunter Mk.58,
N331AX, operated by a defense contractor, departed the runway after
landing at Yuma MCAS, Yuma, Arizona, USA. The pilot was not injured,
and it is unknown if the aircraft sustained damage.
17 April: The pilot of a
a 1945 Grumman TBM-3 Avenger, N108Q (c/n
4093), was forced to ditch the aircraft in the Atlantic Ocean, just
offshore from Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA, after an apparent loss of
engine power. The aircraft, operated by the Valliant Air Command,
was flying in the Cocoa Beach Airshow. The ditching, although
perilously close to some swimmers, appeared to be
performed perfectly, and the pilot was unhurt. [Video
of the incident>>]
21 April: A 1941
Vultee BT-13A Valiant, N53331
(s/n 41-1381), crashed into an airport hangar during a touch-and-go
in Camas, Washington, USA. The instructor pilot in the back seat was
killed, and the student pilot in the front was injured. The aircraft
was substantially damaged. [News
23 April: Infamous
former air racing personality Bill Whittington, who raced various
warbirds at Reno in the 1970s and 1980s, and also owned/operated
numerous vintage aircraft, died in the crash of his Swearingen
Merlin IIIB in Arizona, USA. He was 71. He and his brother Don were
well-known in both auto racing and air racing circles. Both
also participated in drug smuggling schemes that landed them in prison in
the 1980s and 2000s. Their Griffon-powered P-51 Mustang Precious
Metal once achieved a qualifying speed of 453 MPH, the highest
recorded qualifying speed at that time. [Autoweek
26 April: A 1936
Boeing B75N1 Stearman, N56760
(c/n 36-0018), operated by the Wings Over the Rockies Air and
Space Museum, departed the paved runway and ended up inverted
during a landing in Denver, Colorado, USA. The pilot was not
injured. The aircraft was substantially damaged.
28 April: A
Hawker Sea Fury T Mk.20,
G-RNHF (VX-281), crashed during an attempted forced landing near
RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset, UK. The aircraft was destroyed, and both
occupants suffered minor injuries. The aircraft was the same Sea
Fury that was damaged in a similar incident in 2014 at RNAS Culdrose,
and underwent a 3-1/2 year
4 May: An
Aero Vodochody L-29 Delfin,
(N-number unknown) made an emergency gear-up landing in Hollister,
California, USA, after a landing gear malfunction. The pilot
reportedly circled the airport for a while, attempting to lower the
hear, before performing a successful belly landing. The plane
suffered minor damage, and the pilot was not injured. [News
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