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Mon, Jul 17, 2006

Pilot Identified In Hillsboro Air Show Accident

Plane Appeared To Lose Power Before Going Down

The pilot of a 1951 Hawker Hunter that went down Sunday afternoon at the Oregon International Air Show in the Portland suburb of Hillsboro has been identified.

Robert Guilford, 72, was departing from the airshow Sunday when the engine of his vintage British fighter plane appeared to cut out, and the plane impacted homes in a residential neighborhood west of the airport.

Guilford (right), a California aviation attorney and flight instructor with over 4,000 flight hours since 1961, had displayed the Hunter at the show but was not a performer, according to air show spokesman Steve Callaway.

"The wreckage is devastating," Callaway said. "The air show extends its sympathy, concerns and prayers to all of those who have been impacted by this accident."

Despite damage to at least three homes, and the destruction of a fourth, the Portland Tribune states there have been no reports of injuries to those on the ground.

Witness reports state the fighter had just left the field, but was in the traffic pattern to come back and perform a low flyover of the runway when the plane appeared to lose power.

Contrary to earlier reports, the plane does not appear to have been in any kind of aerobatic manuever when it experienced problems.

"As it came in, it pitched up its nose and it looked like he was trying to stay afloat," said witness Ed Kerbs, who was hosting an air show party on his lawn. "I was talking to a buddy of mine and I said, 'Hey, he's flying way too low; he's not going to make it.' And then there was a plume of smoke and a bang."

Sunday's accident was the first in the 19-year history of the popular air show.

IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 58MX        Make/Model: EXP       Description: HAWKER HUNTER MK58A EXHIBITION
  Date: 07/16/2006     Time: 2322

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Fatal     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Destroyed

LOCATION
  City: HILLSBORO   State: OR   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  ACFT WHILE PERFORMING A MANEUVER FOR AN AIRSHOW, CRASHED, THE ONE PERSON ON
  BOARD WAS FATALLY INJURED, HILLSBORO, OR

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   1
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   1     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   

WEATHER: SPECI KHIO 162326Z VRB06KT 10SM CLR 30/12 A3011

OTHER DATA

  Departed: HILLSBORO, OR               Dep Date:    Dep. Time:     
  Destination:                          Flt Plan: VFR          Wx Briefing: 
  Last Radio Cont: 
  Last Clearance: 

  FAA FSDO: PORTLAND, OR  (NM09)                  Entry date: 07/17/2006

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.baumhedlundlaw.com/

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