Disasters — 12 October 2011

It’s not official yet, but we’re pretty certain that the trim tab – a little rectangular, flap-like device – “departed the airplane,” which was going more than 400 mph at the time. Losing your trim tab is never convenient, but at those speeds and in a turn it’s, well, usually fatal to the pilot. Not so often to a few dozen people.

Personally, we don’t like so-called Unlimited Air Racing. It’s an excuse for rich men to match peckers in front of a huge paying audience.

RAW video:

We don’t care if they want to go out and kill themselves that way. No, our problem with it is this: Who knows how many historically significant Mustangs, Corsairs, P-38 Lightnings and F8F Bearcats, to name a few types, have been chopped up beyond recognition to make them go a little faster?

Make no mistake too, that these planes are so heavily modified that they can’t ever be restored, in most cases, to their original WW II appearance.

I know this sounds callous since families are still grieving over the people who died horribly after going out for what was to be an exciting afternoon of watching the air races. But we can’t really add anything that hasn’t already been said about that.

It’s a cliché in the aviation business that safety regulations are always written in blood. Unfortunately, in air racing, the sanctioning bodies of the races, nor the FAA, bother to write even the simplest and easiest to employ safety regs in ink or blood.

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