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Mar 08 2014
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Jan 31 2014
I would normally encourage everyone to fly, and especially encourage those who have been flying to keep flying. But, this guy has made the right decision to quit flying. It’s in his best interest, his wife’s best interest, and in the best interest of aviation as a whole. Specifically those of us who build and fly experimental aircraft.
The following is a direct copy and paste from the Mansfield News Journal:
“JEROMESVILLE — The Federal Aviation Administration says the pilot injured in an experimental aircraft that crashed Dec. 4 near Jeromesville had been involved in previous accidents never reported to authorities.
The preliminary report issued Jan. 13 said William E. Moore, 65, of 295 Township Road 1600, told an investigator who interviewed him at Kingston Nursing Home in Ashland that he does not plan to fly again.
“I’m done flying,” Moore confirmed this week.
The Jeromesville man told the News Journal he felt comfortable tinkering with an experimental, amateur-built aircraft because of his background as a mechanical/electrical engineer, but he had become increasingly concerned about problems he’d had flying the plane when the crash occurred.
Moore said he’d taken about half of the training he needed to fly solo, and was hoping to perfect his skills with touch-and-goes on a sod strip at his farm. His goal was to take his wife, who loves to fly, up in the Sparrow 11 he purchased April 9, 2012, he said.
Instead, after two short flights without incident, the aircraft apparently fell while Moore was turning it an estimated 150 feet to 200 feet in the air. Moore suffered two broken legs and a broken arm, and he was unconscious for five days after the accident. Medical staff told him he had bruised his brain, and it took two to three weeks before he could think normally, he said.
Moore still is recovering at Kingston. Doctors have told him it could be six more weeks before he can safely put weight on his right leg.
The FAA said Moore had about 300 hours of flying time in ultralights and about 30 hours in the Sparrow II when the crash occurred.
FAA investigator Arnold Wolfe wrote that Moore, laid up at the nursing home, told him about “many of the accidents he had in the Sparrow 11” before the crash.
In one incident, Moore hit power lines by his house, which stopped the aircraft and caused it to fall to the ground tail first. The Jeromesville man wasn’t injured, but the plane’s tail was destroyed. Moore, who did all of the maintenance on his plane, rebuilt that, the report said.
“During the investigation at the accident site, I noticed numerous cold welds on the fuselage structure,” Arnold wrote. “One tube became disconnected and was laying on the floor of the fuselage. It looked as if it just fell off.”
The FAA investigator wrote that Moore told him it became apparent after he rebuilt the tail section that the ailerons were rigged incorrectly, causing the Sparrow to go left when he initiated a right turn.
Moore’s flight instructor for ultralights, Gene Berger, told the FAA he saw the Sparrow 11 at the Shelby Airport, where Moore took it for a test flight, and noticed the aileron cables were held together with zip ties instead of a turnbuckle.
According to the preliminary report, none of Moore’s previous accidents were reported to the FAA or the National Transportation Safety Board.
On Dec. 4, the 65-year-old was testing new carburetors he had just installed. He told the FAA he taxied the aircraft up and down his sod runway a few times with the cowling off to check the engine operation, then flew around the farm and landed with no apparent issues.
Moore said his wife was watching when he reached an altitude of 150 to 200 feet, then turned the plane. Then, it crashed.
The FAA report said Moore didn’t remember the crash. “He stated ‘I think I took off again and the engine quit at some point. I think I was returning to the runway, but I am not sure,’” Arnold said.
Moore said he believes he may not have brought the engine up to full speed, which meant he couldn’t pull enough airlift. “I think I’m very lucky. If my wife hadn’t been home, I probably would have been dead. I would have bled to death,” he said.
Both wings and the nosecone of the Sparrow 11 were damaged by the impact.
Moore had a student pilot certificate, but no repairman or mechanic certificate, according to the FAA. The report said the Jeromesville man kept no pilot flight or maintenance logbooks. Arnold wrote that Moore pointed to his head, telling him he kept that information “up here.”
The aircraft was not registered, and the airworthiness certificate and operation limitations did not appear to be on the Sparrow when it crashed, according to the agency.
Moore said he took up ultralight flying eight years ago, after hearing a radio advertisement for a flying club. He never had any major incidents while flying ultralights, but he occasionally had to make minor repairs, he said.
The Sparrow 11 was “a lot different,” he said.
“I had a major crash a year and a half ago. It was my fault. I just put it in a power stall. I hit a tree limb and it spun me around. It put me tail down first, into a field.” Though he wasn’t hurt — “it was like landing on a shock absorber” — the experience was scary, he said.
“I found that the engine I had in the plane wasn’t strong enough to do what I wanted to do,” he said.
He said he feels badly that his wife is having to spend time with him at Kingston, rather than somewhere a lot further south, as Ohio remains in the grip of record low winter temperatures.
The two had been planning to take off in an RV to spend the colder months “somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico,” Moore said.”
Jan 30 2014
I’m happy to see him receive this honor, even if it is posthumous. Wittman played many important roles in aviation, and his contributions reached much father than most people understand. The next time you’re at Oshkosh, take the time to really study the displays at EAA’s tribute to Steve at the Pioneer Airport, adjacent to the museum. There is a lot to be learned there, and it’s one of the best parts of the museum.
“The late Sylvester J. “Steve” Wittman, the pioneering aircraft designer, builder, and racer who was an early EAA member and the namesake of Oshkosh’s Wittman Regional Airport, is among six individuals who are among the class of 2014 inductees for the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF).
The NAHF announced the upcoming year’s inductees during Tuesday night’s annual dinner hosted by the Dayton, Ohio-based Aviation Trail Inc. on the anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first successful powered flight on December 17, 1903.
Wittman built his first airplane in 1924, and competed in his first air race in 1926. Wittman managed the Oshkosh, Wisconsin, airport, and operated an FBO and flight school there while continuing to design, construct, and fly innovative aircraft, his homebuilt kit plans selling in the thousands. His final air race was in 1989, at age 85. Along with Wittman’s name on the Oshkosh airport he managed until the late 1960s, EAA Chapter 252 in Oshkosh is known as the “Steve Wittman Chapter.”
Jan 30 2014
I’m not going to write much about this, as the story of The Human Fly is fairly well documented on the internet. A quick Google search will keep you busy with videos and websites, at least until your boss walks up and catches you watching goofy videos from 1976.
I didn’t realize Clay Lacy was a stunt pilot. There are some pretty good videos on the Clay Lacy Aviation YouTube channel. “Props, Pistons, and Pilots” is another really good vintage video featuring a 1000-mile unlimited air race. The ship Lacy flies is, um… unique. The YouTube channel is definitely worthy of an afternoon of watching. Even a few taildraggers in there, too.
Much like the Everal prop video from the other day, I’m very thankful for the keepers of these old videos, images, and history for sharing them in our new digital world.