Mon, Aug 18, 2008
Dogfight Routine Goes Wrong, One Pilot Killed
The world famed Old
Rhinebeck Aerodrome suffered a tragedy late Sunday when a simulated
dogfight, a part of a scheduled aerial performance for this NY area
tourist mainstay, went awry. The act involved two aircraft, one of
them a "French WWI" biplane, which was reported by witnesses as
having gone into a spin and crashed near the site of the Aerodrome.
The other aircraft involved was a German warbird of the same period
-- which was reported to have landed safely. The German warbird is
thought to be a replica WWI Fokker DR1 triplane, often the
"villain" in a number of the Rhinebeck reenactments.
No midair collision was reported.
The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome is a well-known Northeastern
aviation museum and air field, first conceived of by the legendary
Cole Palen (who passed away in 1993). Maintained as a true "living"
museum of antique aviation located in Rhinebeck, New York, the ORA
organization presents "one of the largest collections of early
aeroplanes in the world, many of which regularly take to the air in
all their glory during our weekend airshows. The Aerodrome features
aeroplanes, automobiles, motorcycles, early engines and memorabilia
from 1900-1935. In addition to the airshows, there are four museum
buildings displaying aircraft form the Pioneer Era, World War I and
the Lindbergh/Barnstorming era. These were the golden years of
Weekend air shows take place from mid-June through
The accident took place at approximately 1600, EDT Sunday. The
pilot was reportedly killed on impact and has yet to be identified,
according to Dutchess County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Mark
Femenella. A witness to the accident, Roger Christenfeld, a
Poughkeepsie NY resident attending the show with his family, stated
that the accident happened during a simulated dogfight when one
'apparently lost control and crashed.' "It was surreal..." he told
local media, "One minute it was pretend danger, then it went
suddenly to real danger."
Christenfeld also added that the 'French plane went into a spin
and crashed behind some trees.'
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