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Jul-17-2006 20:14printcommentsVideo

Video of Plane in Final Moments Before Crash

A home video camera recorded the Hawker Hunter jet fighter in its last moments of flight.

Guilford's Hawker Hunter jet in flight
Photo courtesy: hunty.com.au

(HILLSBORO) - Home video of a Hawker jet fighter's last moments of flight were recorded by an Oregon airshow visitor as the pilot, Bob Guilford of Los Angeles, California, made his last decisions before plunging into a Hillsboro, Oregon neighborhood Sunday.

Guilford, a California attorney, was a veteran pilot who owned and was qualified to fly many different high performance military aircraft over his 44-years as a private pilot. The plane he was flying was a Hawker Hunter.

Hawker manufactured the cold war fighter called the "Hunter" for several years beginning in the mid-1950's. Like most successful military jet aircraft, the Hunter was redefined with improvements over time and came in single and two-seat versions.

The Hunter was a single engine fighter aircraft. Different configurations were developed with varying amounts of thrust or power over the years. Like other single-engine fighters, an engine failure means problem means the plane will quickly begin to fall like a brick

But over time the British refined the plane and it became effective when it was time to scramble quickly. According to the British aircraft organization www.thunder-and-lightnings.co.uk , With better performance at altitude, later models of the Hunter were able to hold their own with most of its contemporaries and could intercept bombers such as the B-45 and Canberra - but the V-bombers were entering service and these could climb above a Hunter's reach.

More advanced fighters such as the American's F-100 could also out-perform a Hunter in many ways, so its days as a fighter/interceptor were numbered.

A number of aerobatic teams operated the Hunter, most famously 111 Squadron's 'Black Arrows' and 92 Squadron's 'Blue Diamonds'. The Black Arrows amazed the aviation world in 1958 by looping 22 Hunters in formation at Farnborough - a feat never equaled or beaten since.

Bob Guilford’s life as a pilot was one of many accomplishments. One friend named Julianne Feuerhelm left this quote on a Salem-News.com story, “Bob kept his jet on our leasehold at Van Nuys. He was generous to many local charities, donating his jet for numerous fundraisers. He was a good friend and sadly will be missed by all of us who knew and respected him!”

Another person who knew Bob Guilford, John Mares, left this quote, "I have a hangar down the line from Bob and met him a couple of times. He was always friendly, gregarious and LOVED to talk about the Hunter. I was shocked at the news and will remember him in my prayers. My only hope is that he went quickly and painlessly, doing something he loved. He was so excited about the upcoming 'circuit' and hope that his life will be inspirational to other aviators."

It is apparent that Bob Guilford's last moments were spent trying to make the fighter crash in a location where people below would not be injured. Though the plane struck a house, there were no casualties on the ground. In the spirit of The Great Santini, it seems clear that saving his own life was no priority.

Related articles on Salem-News.com:

British Vintage Jet Crashes Into Hillsboro Neighborhood

salem-news.com/articles/july162006/jet_crashes.php

Jet Pilot Who Died in Hillsboro was One of The Best salem-news.com/articles/july162006/jet_pilot_71506.php

WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW OF THE JET'S LAST MOMENTS OF FLIGHT AND THE TREMENDOUS CLOUD OF SMOKE THAT ERUPTS FROM BEHIND THE TREELINE IN A HILLSBORO NEIGHBORHOOD




Comments

Internal Comments are Closed on this story.



Morgan October 6, 2010 2:22 pm (Pacific time)

This particular aircraft did not have a live ejection seat since the FAA would not give a permit for explosive charges. It was foolish to fly a high performance aircraft without a live ejections seat. Guilford was just an accident looking for a place to happen. And it did.


Mick McCudden October 24, 2007 12:15 pm (Pacific time)

He made the classic error of trying to turn onto final, engine out, gear down. Sure combination for death. Wind seemed strong from the right of the video shot. In spite of this, he could have made a downwind landing on the live runway...gear up. Guilford was not the world's best pilot, having totalled a few classics via pilot error. He once crashed a borrowed Mustang on a Santa Monica street, with his girlfriend on board... the sued the owner. Bob loved litigation almost as much as flying. On another occasion, assuming his good friend Lynn Garrison had been killed on a film project, transferred Garrison's F4U-7 Corsair 133693 into his name. Theft by Conversion is how they termed it.


Lynn Garrison September 25, 2006 1:21 pm (Pacific time)

Engine failure and then lowering the undercarraige reduced his chances of survival, since he effectively reduced his glide capability. The hero concept - trying to miss houses, and save people's lives.. is a nice thought. He was concentrating on protecting his investment by putting the Hunter down in one repairable piece. Ejecting would simply produce a load of very expensive aluminum scrap. the final investigation of this one will be put down to pilot error.


RAF_Macaw July 18, 2006 7:17 am (Pacific time)

From the looks he was attempting to return, wheels down and in landing config. Engine loss of power, but still flying, he would have tried to return, when the engine finally failed he would have had safety as to where it would crash as his only concern. He had no choice and had done everything right and expected of him. Tough break and I know he will be busy swapping notes with those other gentlemen aviators up there.

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