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Thread: A Wingman Quiz

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
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    Pacific Northwest
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    8,254

    Default Re: A Wingman Quiz

    Love the history Neal! Seeing young Steve Hinton when we were al "just about" the same age, then thinking about what it felt like being there "back then"

    You know of my "almost there" history of the bike ride wish I'd have finiahed! (It's here somewhere.. I flind the link, hopefully)

    It's funny how this gets in your blood...
    Wayne Sagar
    "Pusher of Electrons"

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
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    Pacific Northwest
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    8,254

    Default Re: A Wingman Quiz

    Thanks Neal, believe me, your support as well as others with rich history is probably more important to this sport than ever before!

    Birgitta and yourself have been inspirational for many of us.. Hints on where to shoot, what to look for.. Both of you havre always been great Ambassoders helping the assigned media achive their goas at the Reno Air Races!!

    Birgitta and yourself are among the most cherished of photojournalists at the Reno National Championship Air Races And Air Show..
    Wayne Sagar
    "Pusher of Electrons"

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Reno
    Posts
    1,241

    Default Re: A Wingman Quiz

    Quote Originally Posted by wingman View Post
    I'm glad this got some traction here. What I think happened in 1994 was a classic case of a momentary loss of situational awareness on the part of Jerry MacDonald. ( who I knew and always liked, by the way -- he was a good guy). I was at Unlimited pylon 8 so had an almost direct headon view of the race start, and have all the race aircraft in my frames. My first photo showed the racers lined up and the pace plane initiating his pullup. The next shot has the airplanes in the same spacing as the first, but with a small puff of black smoke behind Jerry's airplane, and Jerry's left wing lifting and the airplane visibly turning a bit to the right. Then we see Jerry's airplane impacting #41 from behind, and then Ralph's airplane dropping vertically alongside his detached wing. As far as I know the only thing Jerry ever said publicly was to the effect of "I don't know what happened -- I just looked up and saw a flash of white and then I was out of control". To me that says a lot, but given video shot from the pits (so at an angle) that every body interpreted as Ralph sliding over in front of Jerry, and given that Jerry was a charter member of the California group of racers that dominated the class and that Ralph was an outsider from New York state, and given that Ralph was dead and Jerry was not, Ralph was pretty much made the cause in everybody's mind. I think Jerry had his engine backfire and looked down into the cockpit at his instruments and just drifted over. I've been in a practice race with that starting line and things happen a lot faster than it looks from the ground. But Ralph's spacing relative to the pole position airplane never changed. Jerry's did...

    Neal
    That’s how I remember it, Jerry hit Ralph. It chopped the tail to pieces and Ralph’s plane pitched up violently and that’s when the wing snapped off. That’s when time slowed way down for me. I kept saying, “Jump! Jump!” My dad calmly said, “He can’t.” I said, “I know.” All we could do was watch him seemingly drift down forever.

    We were driving down Silver Knolls for a day on the fence just as that race was coming down the chute. I said, “Perfect timing!” as they came right over us. That’s when all hell broke loose. We were already driving toward the eventual spot where Ralph was about to hit. As soon as it hit we were right there. Dust still hanging in the air. I remember a guy rushing up to the cockpit and then slowly standing and turning away. I mean, we knew he wasn’t going to make it long before that but that moment sort of sealed that deal up. That was one of those loooong days on the field.
    You'll get your chance, smart guy!

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    317

    Default Re: A Wingman Quiz

    Oof. Bringing back some tough memories. I was in the static area at the flight line as Ralph and Jerry came down the chute and saw the midair. Jerry then landed and taxied up to within 50 feet of me. He exited the plane looked at the damage and fell to his knees and kissed the ground.
    '71 S.D.1000, '85-'91,'94',95,'97-'99,'02,'04,'06,'08,'10,'13,'14 NCAR.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    The Canadian Rockies
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    2,230

    Default Re: A Wingman Quiz

    Speed can be a harsh mistress. I've seen two friends ride airplanes to the point of impact.

    Birgitta mentioned the other day that she first personally met Rick Brickert when I introduced her to him the morning of the day he rode the Pond Racer in. Made a big impression on her. The bad side of this is never easy.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Reno, Nevada
    Posts
    2,741

    Default Re: A Wingman Quiz

    I met Rick way back his first year. Standing around in the pits they drug a wingtip of the mustang he was racing into a hatchback. We yelled before it did too much damage then walked the wing so it didn't repeat (they had nobody at the wings). An older woman in the pit thanked us, invited us into the pit and proceeded to serve us sandwiches and drinks while we all sat around and talked airplanes and racing. A really nice group of people.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Reno
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    1,241

    Default Re: A Wingman Quiz

    I’ve been thinking about this incident quite a bit. Had my dad over for dinner the other night and we discussed it since he’s was driving that day and I was riding. He brought up the point of the two row start. Wasn’t this the way they were doing it that year?
    You'll get your chance, smart guy!

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Maui, Hawaii
    Posts
    787

    Default Re: A Wingman Quiz

    There is a video of the incident, but from what I could see and determine it was inconclusive. And from my vantage point in the pits it was very hard to tell exactly what happened.

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