Farewell Vlado…

There has been a string of losses in recent years of aviation individuals.  When you see that there is an accident and someone has died, you wonder whether it is someone you have known.  I wasn’t expecting it to be Vlado Lenoch.  Vlado always seemed to be on top of whatever he was flying.  A lot of my friends knew him a lot better than me but my time with him was always fun.  He always put on a great performance when he was displaying but, when he wasn’t flying, he was a fun guy to be with.

I remember chatting with him up at East Troy where he was undertaking the first flights post restoration of Baby Duck, the P-51 in which he was flying when he crashed.  The accident sadly claimed the life of his passenger too.  We were sitting in the hangar and he was handing around fries that he had bought from a local McDonalds.  He didn’t know me at that time but he was as friendly as someone I had known for ages.

On that day I was photographing the first two flights and he brought the P-51 down on a low pass giving me some great head on shots.  Afterwards I thanked him for missing me to which he raised his eyebrows and asked “Where you out there?”.  He always flew the plane with élan.  His takeoffs were always impressive and he was always offering a spare seat to someone he could share the fun of flying with.  Plenty who were closer to him will miss him more than me but I am very sad at his loss and that of his passenger.  Others will express thoughts about him more eloquently.  For me, it is just goodbye…

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