06 December 2008

Ray Charles And His Vickers Viscount Wind-Up In Cornfield (1985)

Back then, it was difficult, but not impossible to get access to what is now impossible. If I walked across that field in the driving rain to get to Ray's plane in a post 9/11 world, I'd likely end up with some extra holes in my body. Just sayin'.

I would make some really crass joke about how the pilot agreed to let Ray land the plane "just this once", but I won't.
(if you are really into the idea, go here)

Actually, the length of the Monroe County, (Indiana), runway, was little bit too short for Ray's 4-engine Turboprop modified airliner, (in other words, somebody screwed-up), the British made antique Vickers Viscount. It probably didn't help that there was a driving rainstorm during the landing and after. I can say with some authority that at least while I was doing it, it was always required that spot-news be accompanied by shitty weather.

"The Viscount was a British medium-range turboprop airliner first flown in 1948 by Vickers-Armstrongs, making it the first such aircraft to enter service in the world. It would go on to be one of the most successful of the first-generation post-war transports, with 445 being built. It was particularly well liked by the passengers, as it was quiet, fast and vibration free, and had larger windows than those found even on modern airliners."

Ray Charles's Airplane Slides Off Runway; 26 to Hospital

AP (Bloomington, IN)
Published: October 20, 1985

A 4-engine plane carrying the singer Ray Charles and his band ran off a runway while landing in heavy rain and slid down a hill into a cornfield, injuring the pilot, officials said.

Twenty-six, including Mr. Charles, were taken to Bloomington Hospital for observation, but only the pilot, who suffered a back injury, was kept, a hospital spokesman said. Twenty-eight people, including band members and the plane's crew, were aboard.
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Syd said...

That's really sad. That was a great old airplane.

Hillbilly said...

I can't swear by it, I think I heard that he bought another one.

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