It is with a heavy heart that I’m forced to report the loss of not one, but two of my friends to the sky. A few weeks ago David Gibbs and two passengers were killed when the helicopter he was flying crashed in California while filming a new reality show for the Discovery Channel. I don’t have any details except that the crash occurred very late at night so I assume that he was using night vision goggles. I first worked with David last year while filming air to air videos for the TV show Dangerous Flights. He was the pilot of the camera ship and his job was to direct me across the sky in order to get the best shots possible. It was always a joy working with David because he just had knack for directing me across the sky. It was almost like he was flying the plane and I was just moving the controls. I last worked with David in January while he was filming SG and I in the Bonanza. We had a great day together dancing around the clouds and capped the day off with a formation flight back to the airport for an overhead break. It was one of my favorite days of flying ever.
Then a few days ago I received even more devastating news. John Driftmier was killed in a plane crash in Kenya while filming an episode for Dangerous Flights. Always one to strive for perfection after not being happy with the final shot of Mount Kenya John sought out and hired a local pilot with a light sport airplane to fly him close to the wreckage of an earlier crash on a section of the mountain ominously named Dead Man’s Corner. No one is compleatly sure what happened but local pilots think the two person aircraft encountered a down draft while flying too low and was unable to climb out of the bowl. John was the Cameraman/director for all four of my ferry flights last year and we became a very close team. I’ve lost a lot of friends in flying and skydiving accidents but losing John is one of the toughest to deal with. Sometimes living and working in the sky can be just too expensive.