View Full Version : Blue Skies Forever: Jim Wright

08-05-2003, 01:22 PM
There are no adequate words in my mind at the moment to give proper credit to a man I am proud to have known.

Jim Wright was simply one of the best of the best, period.

From the bottom of my aching heart, I give condolances to Betty, Ron, Mike, Dennis and all of the men and women who worked with and knew this wonderful person who was lost yesterday.

His memory will live on, we can not forget, and we will not forget.

Blue Skies Forever Jim Wright!

Wayne Sagar



08-05-2003, 05:54 PM
What happened? This is sure a great loss. He will be missed. My heart goes out to his friends and family.


OIC...I saw this post before the next one down.

08-05-2003, 06:01 PM
Originally posted by Red
What happened? This is sure a great loss. He will be missed. My heart goes out to his friends and family.

Red Red, nobody really knows anything at this point that I know of. According to the FAA report, he'd landed at Casper WY just prior to this.. the fact that it happend on a road *could* indicate that he was having a problem and tried to put the airplane down but that is purely speculation and drawing any conclusions at this time would not be a good thing.

I know the pain that those close to Jim are feeling today has to be nearly unbearable, I will light a candle in church tonight for him and those close to him. I got to know the man fairly well, at least, well enough to see his genuine nature and complete generosity.

Jim was just one of those extremely rare individuals you meet sometimes that you can never forget.

I will ALWAYS remember how much trouble he went to to ensure that I was able to secure an air-to-air session with him. I mentioned that I'd really like to get a session but was completely honest that I could not afford to bring John Parker up from Reno, even at his very generous rate, to do it. Jim IMMEDIATELY offered to pay for a session and set about to find a jump airplane he knew of that could fly door open.. When that fell through, they took the window out of Jim's personal Bonanza, called me and took me up at THEIR expense...

On top of this, he always tried to pay me for a set of prints that are still sitting here in my office waiting for me to personally deliver them to him..

I can not tell you how sad I am that I missed the opportunity to give them to him....

He will be missed by everyone who ever met him!


Ray Fowler
08-05-2003, 06:45 PM
I spent a few minutes with Jim at Oshkosh and sat in the cockpit of his amazing H-1 replica. Jim’s Hughes Racer was by far the most spectacular aircraft at Oshkosh, and one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. For those who have never met Jim, he is one of the nicest aviators I have had the opportunity to know. I am saddened by his loss and offer the most sincere condolences to the Wright family.

Many never understand the passion that drives pioneers like Jim. He knowingly accepted an additional risk by flying the demanding Hughes Racer in pursuit of his dreams. Those who fly vintage or experimental aircraft know that the rewards of flight greatly outweigh any risk. While the loss of Jim and the H-1 is tragic, I marvel in his aviation accomplishments and celebrate his quest to fly back in time to such a golden age of aviation. He will be missed, but never forgotten…

We all take that “final flight” someday. One can only hope to touch others lives in such a positive way that Jim has.

Thank you Jim… God Speed!

W J Pearce
08-05-2003, 07:35 PM
Although I never met Jim, I will never forget him.

Bill Pearce

Jeff Lee
08-05-2003, 07:42 PM
I am still reeling from the news I received this afternoon about the death of Jim Wright. This has hit me much harder than I expected.

I got the chance to meet with Jim at Reno last year, and then again at Aviation Nation in Las Vegas. My son got to sit in the cockpit one morning, and have his picture made. Those two brief meetings formed enough of a connection that I am feeling a tremendous loss.

Jim's quiet, soft-spoken manner, and his willingness to share his information and experience is something I'll always remember. And I'll never figure out how a guy that tall fit into that tiny cockpit!

Our hearts and prayers go out to his family, and the entire Hughes H-1 team.

Thanks Jim for touching our lives!

Jeff Lee
Austin, TX

08-06-2003, 09:31 AM
I had a chance to shake Mr. Wrights hand at Reno, he was shaking everybody’s hands. What blew me away the most was that he was not a bragger about his deed. The man has to be the most modest dude I ever meet. He would step away from the plane when someone would walk up with a camera. I had to tell him I wanted him in the picture.
Right after I saw him and his H-1 at the Races I had a chance to see the original at the Smith, and I'll tell you, they were twins, except Jim kept his cleaner.
A gentleman that I will always remember, a part of my generation that stood out.

08-06-2003, 09:23 PM
I found this pic with Dago, Riff Raff, and VooDoo in the backgound along with the Hughes Racer. Thank you Wayne, for your pics. You have no idea how much your pictures inspire.


08-06-2003, 10:45 PM
Thank you Clay. That would have been just prior to Jim's speed record setting run at Reno last year. I'm currently going through my images of Jim and the airplane trying (it's not easy) to decide what to run for POTW this "week" ....

I've run many of the airplane in the past, I think it will be a picture of Jim himself that I will run.

It's pretty tough to look at the images and remember but it's so important to remember!

Jim should live on as an inspiration to anyone who has an idea and wants to make something happen. We only got to live with his dream for a bit over a year, but Jim Wright's dream brought to reality a piece of history that none of us would have ever seen flying had he not done it.

I know Jim well enough to know that he would be unhappy if those who helped in the build process were not recognized also. There were many people who helped build the Hughes Racer Replica. I do not have a list of the names but I know Jim would not want his death to overshadow their contribution to the project and we need to keep that in mind always also.

He was THAT kind of person!


08-07-2003, 05:13 PM
I cannot adequately express my reaction to the news of this loss. Jim Wright did something most of us only dream about in creating his Hughes replica, and in doing so gave the aviation community (and the rest of us) a priceless gift. To lose someone with such heart and such passion makes our world a poorer place.

Steve Carlson
Falls Church VA

08-07-2003, 10:17 PM
Wayne, your choice of pic for POTW could not have been better.
I never met the man, but I think he will always want to be remembered as flying off into the "wild blue yonder".

As a pilot, I am comforted knowing that he died doing what he loved. We all know this can happen when we take a machine into the air. If I am to die before my time, let it be with a throttle in one hand, a yoke or a stick in the other, and rudder controls at my feet. Just remember, we want to be in the air.....

Godspeed Jim Wright, we will never forget.

Clay P. Lloyd

08-07-2003, 11:27 PM
Originally posted by claylemon
Wayne, your choice of pic for POTW could not have been better.
I never met the man, but I think he will always want to be remembered as flying off into the "wild blue yonder".Clay, I gotta tell ya, this is one of those really hard ones. I was up till almost 3:30am last evening pouring over the 100's of images of Jim and the airplane vascilating between a couple of really good shots of him and him in the airplane and outside the airplane and I kept going back to this one..

I chose it for a couple of reasons, one, I want it on desktops, not to satisfy my ego but to ensure that people remember. I thought that an image of Jim might be more appropriate because the airplane, no matter how wonderful it was, was just metal, wood and wire. Jim is the loss.

What struck me about this one was the uplifting feeling I got when I looked at it.. It had to be the one.

This all is really a hard time for me for another reason. I labored as a virtually unknown photographer for many years until I got one lucky break.

Jim Wright took me under his wing and made things happen for me.

We had all heard about the airplane but nobody had really done a story on it. I called, he invited, we did the first one. He did not call me when they first flew, even though he mentioned that they might. I wrote them an email and told them I thought they had done the smart thing not inviting anyone outside those necessary to the flight.. He said to me in a phone call a while later... "you know, you were the only one [media] who understood why we did not invite anyone" Apparantly, several people got their feathers bent because they did not get invited...

As soon as they were sure of the airplane and that I'd not be there to record a "smoking hole" (sorry for the bluntness of that but that's why you DON'T want reporters at a first flight, we're distracting as hell, no matter how invisible we try to be) he invited me down to have a photo session while he flew it.

Later, sitting with him in his hangar, I mentioned that I would really like to get an Air2Air session with him.. I also, very honestly, mentioned that being a free lancer, I could not afford to bring the one airplane that I knew I could count on for such a session up from Reno (John Parker) to do it..

Jim IMMEDIATELY said "I'll pay for an airplane, I know someone I can call right now" .... long story short.. he could not arrange the jump plane he tried to get that day for later in the day so... that wonderful man figured it out that he could pull the hinge pin on the left rear window on his Bonanza and remove the window, he then test flew the airplane to ensure that it would work and called me and invited me down for the Air2Air session that has been the single most notable thing I've ever done in aviation photography!

I've been published (and paid!) in at least 5 publicatons because of that session and it was ALL because this wonderful man decided that I was worth the effort to help me get a leg up...

You simply do not meet people like Jim Wright more than a very very few times in your life..

I'm so sad at this man passing.. so very sad!

Wayne Sagar

08-08-2003, 12:22 AM

I don't know if there is anymore that can be said. A picture is worth a thousand words.

08-08-2003, 12:40 AM
Clay... I'm just gonna bite my tongue.. I know the photographer who took that photo, submitted it to AP for publication ... Jim Wright frowning...

I'm pissed.. I'm drinking wine, I'm letting it hang.. I'm disappointed...

Jim NEVER frowned... that this photo would be one that would be the one that he is remembered by is NOT right!


Wayne Sagar

This was Jim Wright! Happy... !!!! Remember him this way!

08-08-2003, 01:36 AM
Originally posted by Jeff Lee
I am still reeling from the news I received this afternoon about the death of Jim Wright. This has hit me much harder than I expected. Jeff,

PM me or call me.. I'd PM you but, unless you set it in your preff's, this board does not "pop up" notify you... (so you prolly would not see it)

I'd like to talk a bit...

(remember time zone, I'm two hours behind you) gimme a call or PM me (I'll get a popup) and give me yer phone again.

Thought I was "over" Jim's crash but by far, not.. call me dood...


08-27-2003, 01:00 AM
Hi Guys,

I would just like to let you all know how far this man and his incredible machine have reached. I have watched the restoration and short flight history of the H-1 from Australia marvelling at the superb job that this team did in bringing this aircraft to life. when I first heard of this accident my heart fell both that the aircraft was lost and that the man behind it was too. Knowing what it is to be obsessed with aircraft and flying and having lost friends to this obsession in the past my heart goes out to Mr Wright's family and friends. the only thing I can offer is that he was lost to this world doing what he loved and if I had the choice when my time came I would choose the same