The Smallest Minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. - Ayn Rand
We was a UW Aerospace Alum too. BS '49, MS '50.
While I hate to be a wet blanket... bad weather, Cessna 210(high flyer for the elites), and a sense of invulnerability common to folks like test piots...I think this one will go down in the annals of " pilot continued on into deteriorating conditions and struck the earth at high rate of speed"
rws is right; Crossfield walked away from so many of these things that he might have thought he was invulnerable, but I think if he had to go, this is the way he'd prefer to go.
Indications are that the FAA failed to track him and a number of other planes closely enough in a fast-developing weather situation. Obviously, that's not a concrete explanation, nor an accusation against the air traffic controllers, but in Crossfield's defense, someone with his resume does not live and fly to 84 without being extraordinarily careful.
Avweb is reporting that he was hit by lightning. RIP to a great man.
What reason does an 84 year old man have to be careful when flying his airplane, anyhow? At that age, you need to be careful about broken bones and other things that could put you in the hospital, so I wouldn't recommend parachute jumping. But if kills you outright, you've only missed a few years of life, along with such delightful possibilities as senile dementia and prostate cancer...
Mark Donahue (sp?) was a driver for the Penke team. Died during a Formula 1 practice in Europe. Said one time that if he were to die while at the wheel of a race car, we weren't to grieve - he was doing what he liked to do, and he was damned good at it. (But be really pissed off if a school bus took him out!) And, he wondered, how many "poor bastrads" died at their desks, hating their jobs. It hurt when his wife/widow sued Penske and the Goodyear tire company.