Features

February 2001 Issue

Smile, if You Dare

Formation flying is irresistible to shutterbugs and proud airplane owners, but without proper preparation it can be deadly

In March 1997, our unit was going through recurrent ground school and reassembling from the lunchtime break when the former chief pilot walked in with a pale face and grimly announced to the room, “Hey guys, the factory just had an accident. They were taking pictures and collided. They lost both aircraft and everyone on board.”

The news hit us in the stomach. We all looked at each other with dismay. The aircraft collided during a photo shoot. Given the beauty of the DC-3’s turboprop conversion, I could hardly blame them for wanting to take some airborne promotional pictures.

Witnesses saw the aircraft at approximately 500 feet to 700 feet agl flying close together headed north. The D...

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