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ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: Rick Massegee

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ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: Rick Massegee


Thread: Rick Massegee

Message: Rick Massegee

Follow-Up To: ACRO Email list (for List Members only)

From: KKDiamond at

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. 

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

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.


© Dr. Günther Eichhorn
Email Guenther Eichhorn