Tulsa airshow pilot talks about recent airshow accidents
Tuesday, July 26th 2005, 9:53 am CDT
Funeral services will be held Wednesday for stunt pilot Roger Modglin. The 55-year-old Owasso man was performing at the Wings Over Oklahoma show in Claremore this past weekend, when his plane stalled during a roll and crashed.
Modglin is one of three of the country's top fliers who have been killed in this month alone. News on 6 reporter Steve Berg talked with a Tulsa pilot who knew them all.
"All these accidents. I don't know why we had three in a row." Dr. Guy Baldwin is a top pilot in his own right and he says the deaths, all so close together, are tough to believe. "It has been, particularly since it's so very rare that there are accidents. We've always talked about, as pilots, that the most dangerous part of flying is the drive to the airport in the car."
Baldwin also knew Bobby Younkin and Jimmy Franklin, who were killed when their biplanes collided at an air show in Canada on July 10th. "We were friends as well and they come to Tulsa to get their medicals from me to fly. So I knew them really well and flew several air shows with them." To spectators, the stunts might look risky. But Dr. Baldwin says he and the rest of the performers are no daredevils. And says they always fly under control.
He says they'll study the tapes and find out what went wrong, so it doesn't happen again. He says he can tell Modglin was trying to regain control of the plane. "Until the tail hit, he did everything he could to survive this thing."
He says he has no qualms about flying himself. In fact, he was back in the air the next day to pay tribute to Modglin. He says Roger would have wanted it that way and compares it to car racing. "Y'know the same thing happens. They have accidents. They immediately tend to the gentleman that's been hurt of they lady and then they LifeFlight them off and they continue the race." And he says the pilots will continue on too.