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ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: [IAC-L:1493] Re: Ken Hadden's death


Thread: [IAC-L:1493] Re: Ken Hadden's death

Message: [IAC-L:1493] Re: Ken Hadden's death

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

From: Eric Rood <ericrood at>

Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 22:27:13 UTC


 The following story appeared on the front page of the Columbus Dispatch.

Aerobatic Pilot dies in crash
Air champion Ken Hadden killed as plane goes down

By Don Baird
Dispatch Staffer

DELAWARE, Ohio - A pilot famed internationally for his expertise in
acrobatic flying was killed yesterday when his plane crashed and exploded
while he was doing one of aviation's simplest maneuvers over a farm field
11 miles northwest of here.
  Ken Hadden, 57, of 943 Mulberry Lane, Worthington, had just refueled his
newly purchased plane at Packer Aviation, 5266 Mooney Rd., when he took
off about noon from the tiny airport's single grass runway and attempted
the maneuver, said Sgt. Ron Kuszmaul of the State Highway Patrol.
  "He was a little bit too low when he tried to make the recovery,"
Kuszmaul said. "It's a common (maneuver) that he's probably done
thousands of times."
  Hadden had rolled the single-engine onto its back and was attempting to
right the plane when it dived nose first at about a 45-degree angle into
the field about 800 feet from the west end of the runway, Kuszmaul said.
  Friend and fellow aerobatic flyer Russell Sheets of Delaware said Hadden
considered his maneuver to be precision aerobatics.
  "Ken was an excellent pilot," Sheets said. "He taught me to fly. He was
the tops in his field. There's only about 600 people in the world that do
this kind of flying."
  The two men belonged to the Ohio chapter of the International Aerobatic
Club, based in Columbus.
  Sheets accompanied Hadden's widow, Barbara, to the wreckage. "She wanted
to see the site," he said. "She didn't want to believe it
until she saw it."
  Sheets and another pilot, Dave Boyers of Plain City, Ohio, said the
crash was bewildering because of Hadden's skill and the toughness of his
  "There's some inherent risk in any kind of flying that you do," Sheets
said. "It could have happened to anyone." 
  Hadden was flying a two-seat,mid-wing Extra 300/200, a $240,000 plane
made in Germany specifically for aerobatics, Sheets said. It was not an
experimental aircraft.
     The main spars supporting the plane's wings are designed to withstand
nine times the force of gravity. "It's literally impossible to break up in
the air," Boyers said.
  Hadden was alone in the red, white and blue plane and probably had come
from Marion, where he kept a glider and was a member of the Central
Ohio Soaring Association, Sheets said. It is believed he was headed to his
home airport at Don Scott Field in Columbus.
  Hadden won national and international championships in powered craft and
acrobatic gliders. In August, he performed in a high-speed glider at the
Rickenbacker Air Show. He practiced daily and logged thousands of hours
  A member of the board of directors of the U.S. Aerobatic Foundation, he
had recently returned from competition in the First World Air Games held
in Antalya, Turkey, where he was U.S. team captain, Sheets said.
  However, Hadden once told the Dispatch, he had a fear of heights. "I
can't look over the edge of a tall building," he quipped while
participating in a tournament hosted by the International Aerobatic Club
of Ohio at the Madison County airport near London, Ohio, in 1990.
  "When I'm in control of a plane, I never think of being so high," Hadden
said. "It's precision acrobatic flying. I'm not a stunt pilot"
  In 1992, the former professional figure skater said, "We're athletes,
like figure skaters in the air," The Dispatch reported. "A lot of things
are going on very fast. You're working pedals and throttles under all
kinds of forces and at all kinds of angles."
  Mark Myers, vice president of CMH Aviation at Bolton Field, said
Hadden's death comes as a blow. "We were very sad," he said.
"We have lost a real friend to our industry. He was a good promoter of
general aviation, pilots and acrobatic aviation."
  Myers said Hadden held qualifiers for international acrobatic
competitions at Bolton Field.
  "He was a very strong man. He knew exactly, what he wanted and how to
get it."

Frank Hinchey, Dispatch assistant state editor, contributed to this story.

Eric Rood
ericrood at


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