Poll: Are Vintage Aircraft Flight Demos Worth The Risk?


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  1. The day is coming, (hopefully soon) where we can just build and fly replicas. Leave the originals in the museums. The replicas can be operated with modern technologies with less risk to the crew members and the spectators on the ground.

    The demonstrators do not get much opportunity to practice regularly because of the excessive cost behind keeping +80 year old aircraft airworthy. If the aircraft had modern components, engineering and engines the crews could practice their maneuvers regularly. Practice is just so important.

  2. I fly these aircraft. I would offer the issue is limitations. We’re not 19 years old any more, there aren’t a couple dozen Airman hanging around and a Line Chief finding them something to do. They airplanes take TLC and respect. Poor or maintenance on the cheap will get you killed in any airplane, moreso in these. Flying a P-51 in rime ice and making a joke out of it should have you banished to a desert island, but there’s a guy on FB very proud of it. And there-in lies the issue. I knew Craig, gave him one of the required fighter check rides, he was not that kind of guy. There will always be accidents. We, the warbird operators, need to be smarter; not grounded or more regulated.

  3. Fly them, but avoid the “thrill show”. Let them perform in “flyovers” at altitude (as they do at Oshkosh)–we still get to see them, we still get to listen to the engines.

    Let them do individual “flybys” so people can use their cameras to record and send to to others–including the sound of the engines.

    ALL public demonstrations should be carefully scripted and briefed–and the pilots vetted for proficiency by their peers.

    • They are scripted and briefed. There’s a requirement to have FAA presence and a certified Air Boss on the ground to run things. There is vetting, to a degree, and I sometimes think it’s not enough. There’s also insurance companies. In other words, you don’t wake up Saturday morning and run out to find a P-63 that you flew on MicroSoft and say “hey, I can do this s**t”.

  4. I not only don’t see the risk, any more than private pilots flying around people. In fact, the private pilot is far more dangerous. One of those crashes on average once a day now. Should they be flying around?
    If it is the subject of rare war birds, they absolutely need to be out and about with pilot and crew historians teaching the public. Most people don’t take the time or even see an interest in going to see a plane inside a museum that doesn’t work. But, if a old war bird flys over and lands at their local airport… they line up to look inside of the plane. Many want to fly in the plane to see what is was like when men were men.
    Yea, I went there.