ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: [IAC-L:1495] Ken Hadden, Columbus Dispatch
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Thread: [IAC-L:1495] Ken Hadden, Columbus Dispatch
Message: [IAC-L:1495] Ken Hadden, Columbus Dispatch
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From: Steve Stratton <stratton at talksinc.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 23:26:46 UTC
I thought it might be helpful to pass on the report of Ken Hadden's death as reported in the Columbus Dispatch newspaper, 10/22/97. It seems to be a fairly accurate account of what occured. Ken was the father of aerobatics in Ohio. It is impossible to express the loss we feel. AEROBATIC PILOT DIES IN CRASH Air champion Ken Hadden killed as plane goes down DELAWARE, Ohio - A pilot famed internationally for his expertise in aerobatic 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 Dr., 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 Juszmaul 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 aircraft 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 maneuvers 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 plane. "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 aerobatic gliders. In August, he performed in a high-speed glider at the Rickenbacker Air Show. He practiced daily and logged thousands of hours of flying. 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 aerobatic 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 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 avaiation, pilots and aerobatic aviation." Myers said Hadden held qualifiers for international aerobatic competitions at Bolton Field. "He was a very strong man. He knew exactly what he wanted and how to get it."