ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: Rick Massegee
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Thread: Rick Massegee
Message: Rick Massegee
Follow-Up To: ACRO Email list (for List Members only)
From: KKDiamond at aol.com
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 1996 22:43:05 UTC
Here is a press release regarding Rick's accident. This release will appear in "NewsBriefs" of the March SPORT AEROBATICS. K<> Karen Diamond Rick Massegee Perishes in Sukhoi Crash Airshow pilot and former U.S. Aerobatic Team member, Rick Massegee was killed when the right wing on his new Sukhoi SU-31 detached in flight, causing the aircraft to roll rapidly from about 1,500 feet to the ground. The crash was witnessed by U.S. Aerobatic Team Trainer, John Morrissey, and SU-31 pilot Eric Haagenson. Both people on the ground had been in radio contact with Massegee for coaching purposes before the structural failure occurred. The aircraft had a total time of approximately 11 hours when the accident occurred. The first six hours had been low stress flying, followed by a few hours of low g maneuvers. Massegee was entering a pull-to-vertical exercise from normal speed and level flight. At 15 to 20 degrees up, pulling about 6 gs, the right wing bent upwards 30 degrees and then separated in a backward motion. The airplane started a series of rolls at approximately 300 degrees per second, which continued to the point of impact. Initial investigation indicated that there was a structural failure of the forward spar at the right wing root. Engineers from the Sukhoi Design Bureau left Moscow the day after the crash to join FAA and NTSB accident investigators to determine the exact cause. Brian Becker, President of Pompano Air Center, which markets the Sukhoi, immediately issued an advisory recommending that all SU-31s be grounded until further information is available for recommended inspection procedures. Massegee, 42 was a United Airlines Captain and had logged 725 hours in a Sukhoi SU-26, which he had flown in two World Aerobatic Championships and numerous airshows. Having earned his private license at age 16, he became a CFI and was offering aerobatic instruction at 19, the year he flew his first airshow. An active participant in the Breitling World Cup and IAC contests, Massegee, who had been sponsored in part by Pompano Air Center, was looking forward to a busy airshow schedule in the summer of 1996. This is a tragic loss for the whole aerobatic community, said Becker. Rick was colorful, talented, enthusiastic, quick to smile and devoted to competition and airshow flying. He was a great friend and a superb pilot. PHOTO CAPTION: Rick Massegee was active in aerobatic competition, airshows and airline flying.