Was Reportedly Trying To Save Vintage Hellcat
Famed Reno racer Art Vance died Saturday when the WWII-vintage
Grumman F6F Hellcat he was flying crashed shortly after take-off
from the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport in Tennessee. The aircraft
had been on display at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation for several
weeks, but reportedly did not undergo any type of maintenance or
refueling operations during that time.
The aircraft, built in 1944, went down near Interstate 40, in
mountains about five miles east of Cookesville, TN, shortly after
departing Gatlinburg. Vance, 64, was reportedly trying to land on
The Hellcat was based at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, CA,
and was on its way to an air show in Arkansas when the mishap
occurred. Vance was one of several volunteers who flew the
organization's vintage aircraft.
Airport officials said the aircraft wasn't serviced between the
time it arrived at Gatlinburg and the time it departed -- an
interval of several weeks. TMA Director Bob Minter confirmed that
Vance didn't request fuel or maintenance before departure, but
indicated the aircraft may have been serviced just prior to
Vance was president of the Unlimited Air Racing Association and
a well-known figure at air races like Reno.
"The Unlimited Division has lost a great leader who always
looked out for the welfare of our members," wrote UARA members C.J.
Stephens and Tom Camp in an online memorial to Vance. "Art, you
will be forever missed, but never forgotten."
FAA Preliminary Accident Report
Make/Model: F6F Description:
Date: 10/08/2005 Time: 2103
Event Type: Accident Highest Injury:
Fatal Mid Air: N Missing:
City: MONTEREY State: TN Country:
ACFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, THE ONE PERSON ON
FATALLY INJURED AND THE ACFT WAS DESTROYED, ON INTERSTATE
40, MONTEREY, TN
INJURY DATA Total
# Crew: 1 Fat:
# Pass: 0 Fat:
Fat: 0 Ser:
WEATHER: NOT REPORTED
Dep Date: Dep.
Last Radio Cont:
FAA FSDO: NASHVILLE, TN
Entry date: 10/11/2005