(video includes a Lomcevak & Inverted Flat Spin. Also, cool low passes start at 4:00)
I’m finally getting around to converting several old VHS tapes into digital video so I can share some cool things from back in the day. This video of Bob Herendeen is the first one that I've run thru a new method of conversion (my Concorde ride at Oshkosh 88 was the first I converted, but I did it a totally different way).
Bob Herendeen (1926-1994) was one of the nicest people I ever knew. He was kind and considerate… a true gentleman. But put him in a Pitts Special and he could really tear up the sky! In fact, Bob had been one of the people that really made the Pitts Special so popular. He had the first one used in aerobatic competition to have 4 ailerons back in the early 60’s, and went on to be the U.S. National Aerobatic Champion in 1966 and 1969. That’s a pretty big deal.
Bob’s style of aerobatics was somehow a little more pleasing than most others. He knew how to push the airplane hard, but it was always something beautiful to watch… not like he was trying to conquer the airplane, but rather like the two were working together to make something truly captivating. This was all matched by his kind and gentle way as a person.
I was fortunate to get to know him in the 80’s at the Mentone Airport in Indiana. My dad owned that little country airport and I had skipped out on my college career, that was supposed to start in the fall of 79, to become essentially an airport bum. Life was good. Real good : )
Bob was born in Mentone, and his dad had owned that same airport many years earlier, up til the late 70’s. Bob would stop by for a week or so most summers and visit friends and family, and he’d be out several times to practice aerobatics while giving the locals some fab free airshow. Airshows at a fly-in are great. Airshows in your backyard with Bob Herendeen and no rules are awesome! This video is of Bob practicing, and showing off for the camera some too. It definitely shows enough of his flying to see that he really was something special.
I feel very fortunate to have known Bob, and I’m thankful for the chance to share some of his fantastic flying with the world thru this video.
Bob Herendeen in the cockpit of his beautiful Pitts Special at the Mentone Airport in Indiana. The video above is from 1986, but this picture might be from another year from that era.
This was by far the most exhilarating picture I've ever taken. It's not from the video sequence, but it might be from the same year. Bob was going about 200 mph and literally just a few feet off the deck and headed almost right at me. I had a long zoom lens on the camera so it's just by chance that I had it both framed and pretty well focused with him approaching so fast (no auto focus back then). I took the pic and lowered the camera to watch him go by... OMGosh - he was only about 20 feet in front of me as he screamed on by with the lower wingtip about waist height! It was the coolest thing I've ever seen, and then my knees got kinda weak. Wow : )