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Historic P-51 "Galveston Gal" crashed near Houston, 2 dead

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P-51 Mustang out of Galveston may have crashed in Chocolate Bay - an area where the Mustang routinely goes for maneuvers when giving rides. Witnesses on a charter boat reported the crash. Coast Guard reportedly searching... (www.khou.com) Mais...

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N2517R
N2517R 9
Rest In Peace my dear friend. Having known Keith Hibbet for over 20yrs and having served together in the USN, he died living his dream. A great pilot, but a loving father and husband first. Will never forget our trip to Oshkosh in 93 in your then new Stearman.....
TXCAVU
Nicely stated.
eagle763
John Hale 4
Sad news. R.I.P. plane and crew.
Rsutcliffe
Ronald Sutcliffe 0
So Sad and unbelievable and how can you justify still flying these old Aircraft for money$.
joeffinger
joeffinger 4
Simple, if we couldn't fly them we would never spend the money it takes to restore and maintain them. Then they simply wouldn't even exist.
immermannjoseph
Joseph Immermann 4
Ron - I understand how you feel but confess I am torn by this issue. I hate the one-two gut punch of losing fine people and irreplaceable aircraft, but I also understand (as I suspect you do judging from your flight experience) the value of allowing our youth to see, hear, and feel our aviation heritage in action. I'll never forget my first trip to Oshkosh in 1989, the feeling of seeing and hearing the aircraft that I had made models of for years. (My buddy and I slept in my car in a supermarket parking lot that year!) My heart goes out to the friends and family of the lost.
Rsutcliffe
Ronald Sutcliffe 0
Don't get me wrong. I like the Current CAF Air Shows, the CAF flying interest, and I was a Commissioned Officer in the United States Air Force for three years at Stead AFB, Nevada. This was before the Air Shows ever started there in Reno, Nevada. I also flew in the oldest C-47 Airplane in the Air Force Inventory over 50 years ago.

My only concern and problem is with the Charging approximately $2,000 to take a ride in a 70 year Old P-51 Airplane.
I just visited today, colored advertising ads by the CAF wanting to sell tickets to ride in( Only remaining Flying B-29) (Called "FIFI") formerly of Midland, Texas CAF Museum. Guess what?, they moved it to Addison Texas and taking riders(Paying Passengers), in Ellington AFB, Houston, Texas this weekend for $/rider? Please think about Safety and what can go wrong with this Safety issue for "Paying passengers" as well as the Current Pilots who were not even born when the airplane was built for the Air Force.
Need to Park it in a Museum somewhere. Don't see many 70 years Automobiles on the Interstate Highways today? I am a Codger for Sure!
10-26-2013 1 p.m.
joeffinger
joeffinger 3
Please look at the flip side of the coin too. Your position also means that you think I should be prohibited from taking a ride in a historical plane even when I'm willing to share the cost of operating the plane.
immermannjoseph
Joseph Immermann 2
I would have to agree with you on the passenger transport question. Money is short but should be sought after by other means. Definitely a question of risk/benefit. Thanks for your service, by the way!
Rsutcliffe
Ronald Sutcliffe 2
Thank you for your comments Joe!
Seems to me that the One of a Kind, Last One, Oldest B-29 in existence should not be used as a (Passenger Paying tickets Airplane) for Anyone!
CAF has 9000 dues paying members per their printed web site. That adds up to a lot of money at $300 each per year dues to be a Colonel. I looked this information up today!

Let everyone protect this Great Airplane in 2013! My Personal opinion in Texas! 10-26-2013 9 p.m. Signed Ron (Retired 13 years)
immermannjoseph
Joseph Immermann 2
Elizabeth makes valid points - it is VERY expensive to operate and maintain these aircraft, but giving rides is likely not going to take much of a bite out of overall costs. (I know, that's easy for me to say. For what it is worth I try to donate what I can to help people with these expenses.)I deeply appreciated seeing Fifi in flight a couple years ago. That was a priviledge. I just know that if one of these vintage aircraft goes down with "civilian" passengers on board the press has a greater field day than if otherwise. I have been championing the cause of aviation since I was a kid arguing with my Mom about aviation safety and I just feel that anything we can do to promote aviation while minimizing potential tragedy is a step in the right direction. That said, it is time to give readers a free shot at me by saying this...I would be the first to hop on board for a ride!!
TXCAVU
OK. Can you maintain said aircraft within today's FAA parameters and pay/insure a qualified pilot & make a "profit" to cover your lease/hanger/mechanic/etc. expenses at less?

This isn't a lark. Maintaining/storing/insuring/Skilled piloting an aircraft costs money. As some of us know. Hibbet was well qualed and this was a mishap.

Enough with the micromanagement already.
N2517R
N2517R 2
I agree!! His ability to master these warbirds was only 2nd to his passion for flying them.
Risk Management was a code he always lived by, particularly when he had someone aboard for the first time. As a former Naval Mishap Investigator, I would look hard at a mechanical problem and/or possible bird-strike.
TXCAVU
As a formal Naval Mishap party, I can confirm the possibilities such as bird strike (close to shore) or mechanical. Let's wait for the reports as they may paint a clearer picture.
Rsutcliffe
Ronald Sutcliffe 1
Standing by for more information and a clearer picture!
.10-26-2013 6 p.m..
Pat573
Patrick Herlihy 2
Ronald, I've worked on warbirds for a living for years now. Please understand that operations like Fifi and Diamond Lil and not run by a couple old guys wearing overalls on the weekend. They are run by professional mechanics with years of experience and they are run by the book. Most of the Volunteers on these planes and professionals as well and even if they are not they are monitored heavily. Not all warbirds are maintained the way they should be. Some are actually in poor condition. I know I'm just some random guy on the internet but I promise there is no reason Fifi or Diamond Lil should not be in the air. As long as everything is checked and replaced as needed they can go forever.
Without paid rides most of these planes would sit in a museum. After working in a museum for many years I can tell you most of todays youth doesn't care. Half of their time spent in a museum is spent on Iphone. When some of these same kids hear the sound of a giant radial engine come to life they put down there phone and take intrest.
Rsutcliffe
Ronald Sutcliffe 1
Hi Patrick and Thanks for the comments.

Just hate to loose one of these old P-51 Airplanes. Don't mind them flying to the shows, but hauling passengers is a NOT! and TOO Dangerous on the Insurance Side of Safe Travel.

I Don't believe the Paying passengers have any idea of the risk. Wonder if the Estate of the (P-51 Galveston Gal) Passenger, got a refund on his last P-51 back seat flight ticket?

I am Waiting on the Investigation Cause and Certification by the FAA.

Ron on Sunday eve. November 3, 2013
Donski1950
Donald Zalesny 2
Hey Ron , wouldn't Sunday Eve be Saturday the 2d ? LOL
Rsutcliffe
Ronald Sutcliffe 2
Hey Don:
Confirmed with my watch today is the 4th of November. Set my clocks back an hour yesterday which was Sunday November 3, 2013.
I wrote the comment on Sunday Evening (Eve), when I got home from the Mountains of New Mexico.
No Saturday stuff was involved. Be sure to check your calendar as you really have me confused as to what day and time it really is today Monday 9 a.m. Texas Time.

Have a Great Week and stay in touch. Appreciate your comments and makes me think for sure!
Donski1950
Donald Zalesny 2
Ron , this is fun .
My logic is that Christmas Eve is the day before Christmas , so Sunday Eve mut be Saturday , the day before Sunday .
Today is Monday at 11:09 am
Rsutcliffe
Ronald Sutcliffe 2
You are right and I guess we are both right. I am a Codger and guess I will blow your mind when I tell you I was born on Christmas Day and had a Twin Brother (Not Identical) born at the same time.

Sun eve is just a old timers saying for sure.

Have a great week and stay in touch.
Ron 11:20 a.m. Texas time Monday
Donski1950
Donald Zalesny 2
We are both right , and both still thinking !
You're 7-AC pal in Michigan ...
Be safe don't fly ! LOL
Don 11:38 am EST
armoredcav
armoredcav 2
They are world class aircraft, regardless of age. They should be flown and not just parked in a hangar waiting to get older. They were designed to fly so fly them. Sometimes bad things happen to good people .......... and good airplanes.
flperez3
flperez3 7
It's confirmed... http://www.galvestondailynews.com/free/article_81fa2d94-3c0f-11e3-b8a4-0019bb30f31a.html

Sad news. Prayers go out to the families of the loved ones lost as well as the Lone Star Flight Museum Family. I assume it was Galveston Gal... either way..it's a sad ordeal.
siriusloon
siriusloon 0
It says "Galveston Gal" right in the link above, so even if you didn't click on it to read the full news item, it tells you it was "Galveston Gal" and there's no need to assume anything.
captainjman
Jason Feldman 3
Its a sad say when a plane crashes, its sadder when the pilots die, and its even sadder when we lose another aircraft that can never be rebuild, replaced, etc etc. A piece of history is gone forever... just a bad story any way you look at it.
bovineone
Jeff Lawson 3
Picture of Galveston Gal from the Lone Star Flight Museum website -- http://www.lsfm.org/p51mustang.html
projectabove35000feet
PATFTF PATFTF 3
Sad story. To see such a beautiful airplane disintegrate.
quinn01
quinn01 3
Oh no! I just saw her at the Alliance Airshow on Saturday.
TXCAVU
A few friends said same thing. Hard to believe they are gone.
jamesandpat
James Huntzinger 3
They've always been a tough aircraft to handle. Prayers for the aircrew and better fortune for the remaining Mustangs.
joeffinger
joeffinger 1
For a qualified pilot they are actually pretty easy to fly.
brocky
Donald Brockhaus 3
Sad to see this historic old bird perish. Sadder yet to see her crew perish.
augerin
Dave Mathes 3
My most sincere condolences to the families of the pilot and passenger....but man, what a plane to go out in....Rest In Peace.
Rsutcliffe
Ronald Sutcliffe 3
Fly Careful!
I just got notification that the Only Flying Boeing B-29 (FIFI), is in the Air going from the Storage Museum to a show in the San Antonio area today. October 25, 2013 7 p.m.
Good Luck!
wbnethery3
Bryan Nethery 2
Fifi is going to be at Wings Over Houston this weekend.
AABABY
AABABY 3
R.I.P. Galveston Gal and Crew. So sorry.
rjc5163
rjc5163 2
I believe the pilot was a FedEx A300 Captain as well
sabre45
Joe Vincent 2
Yes. Keith and I flew several lines together at Fedex. Great guy. Great pilot...and grave loss.
jwmson
jwmson 2
daveblevins52
Dave Blevins 2
Sorry to hear about this. May they Rest in Peace.
WigzellRM
Ralph Wigzell 2
R.I.P.
TXCAVU
The pilot was from Denton, TX
Rsutcliffe
Ronald Sutcliffe 2
Best leave these Antique Old P-51 Airplanes in the Museum and quit making $1999.99 per ride.

I am older than this Airplane for a reason. I am 75 years old because I gave up flying.

Signed Ron:
with only a Student Pilot License at age 16 Solo in an Tail Drag Champ. I learned something flying old Fabric Covered Airplanes for sure.
Donski1950
Donald Zalesny 3
Hi Ron , my first aircraft ride was in a Tail Drag Champ 7-AC on skis , Westland National Airport , Michigan.
Lived across the street , washed them for rides in 1962 .like yesterday still exciting . Good luck !
Rsutcliffe
Ronald Sutcliffe 3
Those were the days for the old Champs and flying lessons in Chanute,Kansas. Never will forget the my instructor throwing his control stick out the window on a low level pass and said guess you are ready to solo and land this Champ "Dude". Hey man what a deal. Go Champ's forever and that was 70 years ago.
Ron in Texas on 10-25-2013
Donski1950
Donald Zalesny 3
Ron , they had 4 or 5 Champs in one little Quanset Hut Hangar . Did it by resting the noses down on little dollies with casters on them , nose down ass up ... All fit in the space needed for one ...Wish I had some pictures ... These plane were yellow with an orange tear drop on the bottom half of the fuselage , I've seen the same color scheme on other champs . Any hams in you're neck of the woods , my call sign is N8YBA ...The little airport was located northwest of DTW about 7 miles and northeast of Willow Run airport about the same distance . I'm a retired NWA TECH. living on a lake south of Jackson MI ...
Rsutcliffe
Ronald Sutcliffe 3
Hey Don:
No Hams here that I know, but I have trouble just using my Trac phone.
I use to work during High School putting up Quonset Hut Buildings with a Screwdriver.
My Dad sold them and I helped install them. All put together with metal screws.
Ron in Texas: NOTE! Correction on previous post should have been 60 years ago instead of 70 years ago when I made the Solo Flight. Sorry about that mistake.
daveblevins52
Dave Blevins 3
Howdy Ron. I have an ex Navy guy in my Sunday school class that soloed in a Jenny. He's about your age as well, and is just a wealth of information regarding older planes. I'm a retired helicopter guy, and yes, I'm fixed wing rated also, but not like you guys. I'm 61 yrs. old and haven't ever piloted a wood and fabric aircraft. And now my medical won't let me drive anymore for a living. So now I just pick the 'ol guitar and keep busy around the farm. Good day.
joeffinger
joeffinger 2
If we couldn't fly them we would never spend the money it takes to restore and maintain them. Then they simply wouldn't even exist.
Rsutcliffe
Ronald Sutcliffe 0
They would exist. Just in a different location. Ever been to the Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio? Those old Airplanes are getting along just fine.

Some of these old Airplanes need retired just like me for the last 13 years in Texas.

Especially when there is only one left like "FIFI" B-29 (N-529B)" taking riders for pay this very weekend? What a Deal? 10-26-2013 4 p.m.
joeffinger
joeffinger 2
You miss the point. Yes, those that are in the museums would still be there but the ones that are flying today wouldn't exist. If museums want them all they have to do in buy them and take them off flight status. If people want them in museums then those people should spend their money and buy them and donate them to a museum. The good people who restored FIFI would not have spent the time and money to restore FIFI if they couldn't fly her, and therefore FIFI would not exist today.
DMScott
DMScott 1
KPRC website confirming 2 dead:

http://www.click2houston.com/news/search-underway-after-reports-of-plane-down-in-chocolate-bay/-/1735978/22589166/-/9dknj5/-/index.html
b36tom
THOMAS PORTER 1
Soooo Sad. Rest In Peace.....

DMScott
DMScott 1
KHOU Alerts now reporting plane found... two fatalities.
ChadPeters
ChadPeters 0
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

WWII Era Plane Crashes South of Houston

A World War II era fighter plane, P51 Mustang, named "Galveston Gal" crashed into Halls Lake near Chocolate Bay (south of Houston). After a hour of searching through the air and sea, Coast Guard crews found two bodies amongst the debris. One of the victims was a customer who paid for a ride on the plane, according to a source.

http://www.planecrashes.org/wwii-era-plane-crashes-south-of-houston.html

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