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Jul-17-2006 20:14TweetFollow @OregonNews
Video of Plane in Final Moments Before CrashSalem-news.com
A home video camera recorded the Hawker Hunter jet fighter in its last moments of flight.
(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
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
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