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Racing's air crash victims


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#51 Todd

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Posted 26 October 2004 - 20:03

I couldn't find it anywhere on the net, but I recall that Brock Yates wrote in his Car & Driver column some years ago, perhaps following Davey Allison's death, about the high number of racing personalities to meet their end in civil aviation crashes.

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#52 JohnH

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Posted 26 October 2004 - 21:12

Chip Mead, who had 6 starts in CART and raced in IMSA was killed in a plane crash in Calif the day before Alan Kulwicki's crash on March 31, 1993.

John

#53 JohnH

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Posted 26 October 2004 - 21:15

Originally posted by Pat Clarke
And of course Paul Morgan (the 'Mor' in Ilmor) perished when his Sea Fury inverted on landing a couple of years ago. I wonder if there was any connection with the lack of success in recent years of "Ilmor" sourced engines?
Pat



Yes there does seem to be a connection. There were ruts in the grass runway and when the Sea Fury's wheels hit them that caused the airplane to flip. Not a good airplane to be in when it flips, as aerobatic ace Charlie Hilliard was also killed in the us in 1996 in his.

John

#54 MPea3

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Posted 26 October 2004 - 22:31

If you restricted the thread to general and commercial aviation, then this wouldn't count. How about Georges Boillot? I'd think there might be others who have died in planes in the service to their country.

#55 philippe7

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 10:21

Originally posted by Eric McLoughlin
I didn't think that the BM Argonaut crash actually involved the pilots shutting the wrong engines down.
What actually happened was that there was a problem with the levers which activated the cross feed fuel tank valves. As a result, the two Merlins on the starboard side ran out of fuel even though there was plenty of fuel in the tanks. Both Merlins shut down when the plane was on final approach to Manchester Airport (then called Ringway) and they just couldn't maintain height on the power of the two port Merlins alone. They also had to contend with a significant yaw caused by the extremely asymetric thrust of the two engines which were at maximum power setting. The additional drag caused by the full application of rudder to keep the [plane straight compounded the plane's inability to make the runway.

The pilots literally ran out of time to be able to correctly diagnose what was going on.

What was really sad about this accident is that the problem with the fuel cock levers was a well known issue with the Douglas DC-4/C-54 and the Canadair C-4 North Star/Argonaut aircraft. It was just that BM, having acquired the aircraft second hand from BOAC had not been one of the original recipients of the Douglas Company's warnings of this potential hazard - and BOAC had never thought to pass the information onwards to British Midland Airways.


Sorry for bringing this back up, I just read this thread which was linked in the "Hazards of leisure hours" thread

You see, although totally non-motor racing related, the above is very interesting for me......

Back in 1981, when I was doing my military service in New-Caledonia in the South Pacific, I had the opportunity to fly a couple of times in a DC4/C54 belonging to the French Navy Air Force ( Aéronavale ) . This antique aircraft was of course already very old to still be in service in the French army, but it was somehow a unique and historical machine since that plane had apparently been personnaly offered to Charles de Gaulle by Harry Truman sometimes after WW2. De Gaulle had used as his official plane for many years after.

Anyway, sometimes in early 82, the plane crashed during a night flight . They were performing landing and takeoffs training , and in the course of the exercise the plane , without explanation, suddenly veered sharply left after a take-off, failed to gain altitude and crashed into the mountains on the left side of the runway . All crew were killed, and no official explanation ever came out as to the cause of the crash.

Therefore the problem that Eric mentions would make perfect sense : Could it be that the plane, running on low fuel levels , lost supply to the left engines due to this "Cross feed fuel tanks valves" problem , causing the left engines to shut down and the plane to veer left , while failing to climb ? There never were many DC4's in service in the French navy , actually that may well have been the only one , so the technicians might well not have been aware of the hazard, just like British Midland in the above case...

Anyway, sorry about being off-topic, but TNF has again showed me that it can shed lights on many mysteries, including non-motor racing ones...

#56 Catalina Park

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 11:01

There was a DC4 lost in Western Australia in 1951 due to fuel problems.

This image is from Macarthur Job's book "Air Crash vol2" it is a schematic of the fuel system of the DC4.

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#57 JohnH

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 11:40

Originally posted by rdrcr
NASCAR defending series champion Alan Kulwicki was killed when the plane in which he was a passenger crashed while he was on his way to a race.

IIRC, Later that year, Davey Allison also died from injuries suffered in a helicopter crash during a race weekend.



The engines on Kulwicki's Merlin stalled out due to icing. Davey Allison did not die during a race weekend but crashed on a Monday at Talladega when he flew there from his home in Hueytown to see a test by David Bonnet, son of Neil Bonnet. The Sunday before Allison raced to a third place finish during the first race at New Hampshire. There's some wierd coincidences at that NH track involving Allison, Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin, the latter two who were killed at New Hampshire seven years later.

John

#58 bill patterson

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 12:16

With further reference to the British Midland 737 air crash at Kegworth. The flight was bound for N.Ireland from Heathrow(?) and was on the Sunday at the end of the Racing Car Show weekend. Amongst the fatalities was Rodney Burrowes and his wife - Rodney drove a very nice Group 4 Mark II Escort in Hillclimbs, Sprints and suchlike.

There was a rumour that more people from the Northern Motorsport fraternity would have been on the 'plane but missed the flight.

#59 bill patterson

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 12:17

With further reference to the British Midland 737 air crash at Kegworth. The flight was bound for N.Ireland from Heathrow(?) and was on the Sunday at the end of the Racing Car Show weekend. Amongst the fatalities was Rodney Burrowes and his wife - Rodney drove a very nice Group 4 Mark II Escort in Hillclimbs, Sprints and suchlike.

There was a rumour that more people from the Northern Ireland Motorsport fraternity would have been on the 'plane but missed the flight.

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#60 KJJ

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 14:18

Pre-war racer Sir Alasdair MacRobert killed in an air crash in 1938. His two brothers were killed in the war serving with the RAF, prompting their mother to purchase a bomber in their memory christened MacRobert's Reply. There's a website that tells the story here

#61 John B

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 15:50

Another side note is the crash survived by Jack Roush under miraculous circumstances....landing in a pond instead of land, where someone with military underwater rescue experience happened to be hanging out! Survival gave him a chance to see his teams finally win back-to-back Cup titles, plus the great run they've had this year....

Emerson Fittipaldi had a similarly close call IIRC in the 1990s, didn't he?

#62 eldougo

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 09:23

Perkins thanks lucky stars after helicopter crash-lands


July 20, 2008
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AUSTRALIAN racing legend Larry Perkins and his wife SarahF were lucky to walk away unscathed from a helicopter crash in South Australia's Flinders Ranges this month when a rotor blade smashed the front of the aircraft and missed the couple by centimetres.

The couple were returning from a trip to the Northern Territory when things went terribly wrong on Thursday, July 10, as the six-time Bathurst race winner was landing his ex-military helicopter at a private airstrip at Wilpena Pound, about 430 kilometres north of Adelaide.

Sarah Perkins said the helicopter was just about to touch down when they heard "this almighty crack".

"We both looked at each other and knew there was something wrong so Larry just lifted off, and it was about then that we just went into this uncontrollable shake and all I could say was, 'Control it, control it', and that was it," she said.

"We were headed straight down and I looked at the ground thinking, 'This is it'.

"Then he pulled it up and had a bit of a heavy landing and broke a skid and then we went over."

The helicopter's fall to the side pushed a rotor blade back into the cabin and Sarah Perkins feared the blade was going to decapitate her.

"It was quite close," she said. "It broke the window and luckily the wire cutter [at the front of the helicopter] chopped the blade in half … so it was a bit hairy."

Larry Perkins, who is now a V8 Supercars team owner, said mechanical failure had been to blame.

He said the lower transmission mount on the helicopter, which he had owned for four years, broke just before landing.

"Anyone who survives a helicopter crash I think it's fair to say you're lucky," he said.

"I say that it was goddamn unlucky that the gear mount broke.

"The blade at one stage in its death throes tried to get into the cabin, but it's a very strong helicopter.

"It's an ex-military helicopter and luckily the forces of the cabin held up and we avoided huge damage, certainly to the lower limbs."

Perkins, who has flown light planes for 31 years and helicopters for eight, said he had been up to date with all his licensing requirements and was waiting for an engineering report to determine the cause of the failure.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau duty investigator, Neville Blyth, said the bureau had been called in to look at the accident but was satisfied with the circumstances and had concluded there was no need to launch a formal investigation.

#63 Peter Leversedge

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 11:38

In New Zealand Bill Harris jnr [ former NZ Midget Car & Beach Race Champion ] and his brother-inlaw George Housechild [ former Midget Car driver ]

#64 LotusElise

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 11:59

Stating the obvious, Colin McRae, David Leslie and Richard Lloyd are sadly members of this list now.

#65 bigears

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 12:44

Originally posted by Eric McLoughlin
BBC TV presenter and one time touring car racer, Mike Smith had a lucky escape in a helicopter accident a few years ago too.


He sustained a broke ankle and his wife, Sarah Greene was in the accident as well. I got an article from a local newspaper about the accident. I will have a look later.

#66 Jerry Entin

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 19:23

Tony Maggs was badly injured in a plane crash. His Farm manager was killed in the same crash.

#67 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 22:09

And further on the South African front, Roy Hesketh, racing driver (ERA) and motorcycle racer (won Durban- Joburg) killed in wartime plane crash. The fantastic and sadly missed Roy Hesketh circuit in Pietermaritzburg was named after him.

#68 Doug Nye

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 23:02

Making rather grim - yet fascinating (sobering) reading - the British Air Accident Investigation Bureau reports archive (dating back to 1971) is available on the internet - here:

<http://www.aaib.gov....ort_archive.cfm>

DCN

#69 Paul Parker

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 14:27

If nobody has already mentioned this Chevorlet dealer and famous Corvette racer Don Yenko was killed in a light aircraft crash on March 5th 1987.

#70 Jerry Entin

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 14:58

Tommy Krisztin was killed in a practice mission during the 2nd World War, he was a midget and sprint type driver of the 30's and 40's. He was the first husband of Jerry Krisztin who would become the wife of Indy driver Johnnie Tolan.

#71 exclubracer

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 15:32

Kiwi Geoff Perry, Suzuki works rider, died in a plane crash in the U.S. (?) in '73.

#72 David McKinney

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 15:49

Originally posted by exclubracer
Kiwi Geoff Perry, Suzuki works rider, died in a plane crash in the U.S. (?) in '73.

Tahiti

#73 onelung

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 21:46

Western Australian rally driver Clive Slater - Indonesia 1997.
Unfortunately, little has changed with regard to air safety in that country.

#74 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 22:58

Les and Jean March parents of Australian champion speedcar and sprintcar driver Phil March along with ace engine builder John Lewis [Maxwill Motors] were killed leaving Mt Gambier, South Australia airport after a Mt Gambier speedway meeting in the mid 90s
Les had been a long time speedway sponsor and a sometime club competitor. John Lewis was a very succesfull Sports Sedan competitor in the 70s and was a very talented and commonsense man around engines.

#75 Obster

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Posted 13 January 2009 - 22:05

Back in the mid-seventies much of the top brass of USAC were killed in a plane crash. There had been much discussion at the time about an engine formula for Indy that would be compatible with F5000 enabling additional cross-pollenation between series. This apparently all ended with the crash. Some feel this event can be seen as the start of the CART/USAC split.

#76 fines

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Posted 13 January 2009 - 23:15

... and it certainly helped WoO on its way, too! It was 1978 (April, I think) btw.

#77 Twin Window

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Posted 13 January 2009 - 23:17

Originally posted by Eric McLoughlin

That wasn't the Varig Boeing 707 outside Paris around 1973 by any chance?


Was that the accident that also claimed the lives of several members of the 'Fittipaldi Fan Fraternity'?

#78 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 02:16

Originally posted by Lee Nicolle
.....John Lewis was a very successful Sports Sedan competitor in the 70s and was a very talented and commonsense man around engines.


Yes, I remember him... a very dark blue (or green?) Torana that looked terrific and went very well too...

#79 cosworth bdg

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 02:43

Originally posted by Ray Bell


Yes, I remember him... a very dark blue (or green?) Torana that looked terrific and went very well too...

Ray, dark blue and powered by an in-line Holden six of early 70's vintage,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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#80 Peter Leversedge

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 19:49

David was it a PanAm airliner about 1976 [Geoff Perry]?

#81 David McKinney

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 21:08

1973 I think, Peter
It was a Pan-Am 707 which crashed after take-off from Tahiti for the US, killing everyone on board
Geoff was on his way to race in California for the Suzuki USA team

#82 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 15 January 2009 - 04:24

Originally posted by cosworth bdg
Ray, dark blue and powered by an in-line Holden six of early 70's vintage,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

I believe Johns Torana was rescued from its last owner when he had nowhere to go with all his possesions. The Torana had a big hole cut in the firewall/floor for a V6 Buick turbo conversion that never happened. Other than that it was much the same as when John sold it in the 80s

#83 GD66

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Posted 15 January 2009 - 06:45

Originally posted by David McKinney
1973 I think, Peter
It was a Pan-Am 707 which crashed after take-off from Tahiti for the US, killing everyone on board
Geoff was on his way to race in California for the Suzuki USA team



Having won the AMA round at Road Atlanta, Geoff had been home to NZ, and was returning to compete at Laguna Seca, the crash was on July 23rd, 1973.

#84 David McKinney

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Posted 15 January 2009 - 07:22

Thanks GD
I didn't mention a US venue because some references say Ontario, others (the majority) Laguna Seca

#85 GD66

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Posted 15 January 2009 - 07:32

In the excellent Ray Battersby book "Team Suzuki" it says....."Geoff's tragic end cast a gloomy shadow over Laguna Seca, where Smart was the best-placed Suzuki rider in 4th place" and then goes on to summarise the season - closing races...."During these events Suzuki had little luck, and at the final round at Ontario, Smart managed 5th, Kawasakis taking the first three places with Roberts' Yamaha in 4th."
Hope this is of help.....and don't faint David, but for once I had a reference book on hand, instead of just the tortured memory ! :lol:

#86 Formula Once

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Posted 15 January 2009 - 10:15

Nanni Galli was booked on a flight from Milan to Rome to Palermo in the spring of 1972. The plane flying Rome to Sicily crashed, nobody survived and when the news broke on the radio, at Alfa Romeo (for whom Galli was to test for the Targa at Sicily) they thought for a few hours Nanni had died before he called in to say he had missed his connecting flight at Rome...

Jan Lammers had a close call on 28th July 1984 when he flew (still in overalls) from the UK (after qualifying/practice in the RLR Porsche 956 for the Brands Hatch 1000 KM race) to Spa (where he raced in the R5 Turbo) in a small plane which was hitting tree tops when descending in Belgium. The pilot got the plane on the ground somehow, while at the circuit they posponed the start until Jan (who had qualified on pole) arrived running and got in the car. He won the race at Spa and flew back to the UK, where thye next day he won the 1000 KM too! Which makes me wonder how many other drivers won two races in two different countries within something like 24 hours...

#87 ReWind

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 19:35

Holly Birkett and his wife - co-founders of the 750 Motor Club, luminaries of the VSCC etc - Auster, at Deauville I think, maybe Le Touquet...

The crash happened on 8 July 1963 on the Stella beach near Le Touquet.
Source 1
Source 2


#88 TrackDog

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 02:45

Brian Furstenau, 1993?


Dan

#89 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 05:35

Back in the mid-seventies much of the top brass of USAC were killed in a plane crash. There had been much discussion at the time about an engine formula for Indy that would be compatible with F5000 enabling additional cross-pollenation between series. This apparently all ended with the crash. Some feel this event can be seen as the start of the CART/USAC split.


That discussion had ended several years earlier when the plug was pulled on the F5000 by the SCCA when USAC decided against continuing its support of the series. The deaths of the USAC officials, the death of Tony Hulman, combined with the changing nature of the US racing scene, all led to a situation that was ripe for a power struggle. While it could be and can be argued that this would happened regardless of the USAC tragedy, it cannot overlooked that USAC was left without much of an experienced staff to handle the already existing problems that were not dealt with very effectively on their end when the crunch occurred later in that season and into the next season.


#90 F3Wrench

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 09:16

I understand from another notable F3 driver of the 60's and 70's that Norman Foulds, for whom I did a short stint of wrenching on the NERO Chevron B15, got his PPL, travelled from the Isle of Man to Blackpool to collect his new aircraft, and took off OK from Blackpool airport on his return to the IoM. He hasn't been seen since.

No idea of dates or type of aircraft, I'm afraid. Regarding those already mentioned, I still get a personal pang of sadness when I remember David Purley and Brian Kreisky's sudden demise, both good friends of mine. And my fellow wrench who I only remember as "Fat Alan" who died with Graham Hill in his aircrash.

#91 Hieronymus

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 09:19

South African FAtlantic racer NOLS NIEMAN

#92 ReWind

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 14:39

Occasional sports car racer Bob Sawyer was the pilot of United Airlines Flight 826 (DC-8) which on 16 December 1960 collided with a TWA Lockheed Constellation over Staten Island, New York. The crash resulted in the deaths of 128 people.

The tragedy is about to become a TV movie called “Mayday New York”.

Edited by ReWind, 11 July 2009 - 14:41.


#93 B Squared

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 19:07

Occasional sports car racer Bob Sawyer was the pilot of United Airlines Flight 826 (DC-8) which on 16 December 1960 collided with a TWA Lockheed Constellation over Staten Island, New York. The crash resulted in the deaths of 128 people.

The tragedy is about to become a TV movie called “Mayday New York”.


Thanks for the links - It definitely has piqued my interest.



#94 Direct Drive

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 05:08

John Cannon, like David Purley, was killed in a stunt / acrobatic plane, not something I'd consider an "air crash" in the Graham Hill sense.

#95 Ronnie792

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 07:29

In terms of close calls, Ronnie Peterson had arranged to fly back from Paul Ricard with Graham Hill in 1975, but mad a last minute switch to Colin Chapman's plane, since his Swedish passport would have meant delays for Graham in clearing customs at Gatwick airport.

#96 idrive

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 15:30

South African Formula Atlantic racer Evan Boddy (NZ or Aus by birth) went missing while ferrying an Aerocommander 685 from the USA to South Africa in the early 80s

From Pennsylvania they went to Florida saying that all went well. They then went to Recife (Brazil) and told a lot of people that the aeroplane was very heavy on fuel. They went missing the next day and were never heard from again!

Evan's business was not doing well . His girlfriend had him declared dead in a very short time and his life insurances paid out ..... many conspiracy theories surround this one!



#97 taylov

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 14:44

Michael Chorlton, post-war Bugatti, driver died when his light aircraft crashed at Shottesbrooke, near Maidenhead in October 1951.

Peter Whitehead was injured in a plane crash (at Croydon?) in late 1947/early 1948, which put him out of racing for 1948. Any more details on this would be appreciated.

Other "air deaths" include :-

Clifton Penn-Hughes, July 1939, ? near Folkestone
Teddy Rayson, November 1939, Beechingstoke, Wilts
Dick Shuttleworth, August 1940, Benson, Oxon
Richard Bolster (John's brother), June 1941, Germany
Norman Wilson, April 1942, near Malmesbury, Wilts


I found a little more about the wartime loss of Norman Gladswood Wilson, the pre-war South African ERA and MG racer.

He served with the RAF Volunteer Reserve and was posted to the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment of the Royal Air Force (A&AEE). At the outbreak of the Second World War, the A&AEE was moved to Boscombe Down, Wiltshire.

Evaluating new designs was a risky business and the Avro Lancaster in common with most planes met early problems. On 18 April 1942, F/Lt Wilson was part of a crew testing Lancaster R5539

During a diving test R5539 crashed at Charlton, 2 miles from Malmesbury, Wilts. All on board were killed. The crash was later traced to tail-plane surface failure, a design flaw that caused other early losses.

The crew of Lancaster R5539 that day was -

BILTON, RICHARD LEWIS
HARRIS, JACK DONALD DFC
SALTER, PETER STANLEY AFC
TRACEY, ANDREW NICHOLAS
WAKELIN, PERCY FREDERICK
WILSON, NORMAN GLADSWOOD

Tony

Edited by taylov, 02 January 2011 - 17:56.


#98 Amphicar

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 21:33

Surprised that no-one has mentioned:

Derek Bennett, the founder of Chevron Cars, who died in a hang-glider crash in 1978

also

Colin McRae (best known as a rally driver but also drove in the 2004 Le Mans 24 hrs) died in a helicopter crash on 15 September 2007

#99 Tim Murray

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 21:38

See posts 12 and 64, Amphi.  ;)

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#100 Amphicar

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 21:48

See posts 12 and 64, Amphi. ;)

Apologies - must improve my speed reading (or leave more in the bottle)