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Single seater fatal near Murray Bridge

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It is inappropriate, really. People can be so judgemental. Would they like to be so harshly judged themselves, in similar circumstances? Nev

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This is the outcome our families fear most when we leave home to go flying, even if they don't say so. It's why I call my wife once or twice during every one of my instructing days to let her know I'm fine - Some may think I'm daft, but there you go.

 

I fly at Murray Bridge and Rob's hangar is right behind ours. Although I didn't know him well personally, more as a hangar neighbour, I do know he was much loved and respected by everyone who did know him well. I have no idea about aerobatics or Rob's endorsements, but his routine was spectacular and he practised relentlessly.

 

On the Friday before his Sunday accident he was going through the first of his sessions around 8.30am and I was using his radio calls to help me train 3 of our students on the ground to understand the concept of the aerobatic box being declared open and closed. While we watched ( our hangar is in the frontline facing the runway) it also became abundantly clear to these newbies as to why joining the circuit mid-field XW at such a time is so dangerous and therefore forbidden, hence the importance of listening to and understanding such calls. Later that morning each of them had an opportunity whilst doing circuits to see where Rob was relative to them - it was a great lesson in situational awareness for them. Unwittingly Rob was helping to train other pilots whilst doing what he himself loved most!

 

On the Sunday, three of my pilot friends, including one of our instructors, witnessed the accident first hand from our hangar apron, one of whom was first to reach Rob's plane. Our CFI was on final with a student returning from a navex. These people have been deeply affected. One of our other students had earlier been admiring Rob's Pitts at the bowser and spoke briefly to him before he commenced his final routine - we think he was the last person to speak directly to Rob just minutes before the accident but left the field before it happened. Consequently he too has been more reflective since.

 

Two weeks later I and many others from YMBD and elsewhere attended Rob's funeral service held in one of the large hangars and Chris Sperou's eulogy (thanks djpacro for that post) was very moving, as were the other contributions by family and friends. Following the service, Chris and 2 other aerobatic pilots did a "missing man" formation flyover which was the first time I'd ever witnessed one, and it clearly moved the entire group of mourners, several hundred in number.

 

Whether you are near or far, these tragedies affect all of us but to varying degrees, and these forums are a great way for us to share thoughts and support each other. That's why I've decided to put more into this post than any other I've done. Our thoughts pale however against those of Rob's family - we can but offer sincere sorrow and condolences from afar as an aviation community.

 

Finally, this forum certainly is no place for speculation about accidents, it doesn't help anyone but the speculator.

 

VALE ROB.

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Whether you are near or far, these tragedies affect all of us but to varying degrees, and these forums are a great way for us to share thoughts and support each other. That's why I've decided to put more into this post than any other I've done. Our thoughts pale however against those of Rob's family - we can but offer sincere sorrow and condolences from afar as an aviation community.

 

Our condolences to Rob's loved ones.

 

Finally, this forum certainly is no place for speculation about accidents, it doesn't help anyone but the speculator.

 

Hear, hear. Too many people are too judgemental at the wrong time. Too many people jump to conclusions, often the wrong conclusions. This aspect of human nature is so sad and I was wishing this would not occur at Aircraft Pilots.

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