Dale “Snort” Snodgrass was killed Saturday in the crash of a SIAI-Marchetti SM.1019 in Idaho. Snodgrass was a legendary F-14 pilot with a lot more than 4,800 hrs and 1,200 carrier landings in a Tomcat. A former Top rated Gun teacher, he was Fighter Pilot of the Year in 1985. Soon after retiring from the Navy, he turned a famous airshow performer. (U.S. Naval Institute Facebook)
LEWISTON, Idaho (Tribune Information Company) — Tributes commenced pouring in from about the globe Sunday for Capt. Dale “Snort” Snodgrass, the legendary U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat pilot who died in a one-motor airplane crash Saturday at the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport.
Retired Navy Captain and previous NASA astronaut Scott Kelly known as Snodgrass a “accurate legend” in a Twitter post.
“I experienced the satisfaction of recognizing him and even traveling with him in an F-14 with a new flight manage technique with me in the backseat, which felt oddly proper,” Kelly wrote.
Recognition and regard also arrived from the U.S. Naval Institute, the International Council of Air Shows and plenty of other companies and people today Snodgrass’ daily life touched. Snodgrass was a frequent participant in air exhibits just after his retirement from active obligation, pleasing crowds throughout the world with his flying techniques.
“Snort was a talented aviator, an enormously entertaining air display performer, and a longtime advocate for the air exhibit company,” ICAS President John Cudahy wrote in a Facebook submit. “His death is a genuine tragedy for the entire aviation neighborhood.”
Considered one of the best fighter pilots of all time, Snodgrass’ armed forces job commenced in the early 1970s and ran for 26 many years. He accrued a lot more than 4,800 several hours in the F-14 in both of those war and peace, a lot more than any other pilot.
Quite a few admirers identified as him the genuine “Maverick,” the get in touch with signal for the character portrayed by Tom Cruise in the blockbuster “Prime Gun.” And like Maverick, Snodgrass was popular for his lower-level flybys. But as opposed to that unruly fictional character who got in problems for such unauthorized antics, Snodgrass got his thrills by the reserve.
One particular this kind of flyby was captured in a breathtaking 1988 image taken by Naval photographer Sean E. Dunn from the flight deck of the USS The united states aircraft provider. Deemed 1 of the most renowned aviation images of all time, it reveals Snodgrass’s F-14 with its wings vertical, seemingly much as well shut to the ship and the crew customers observed in the foreground.
And contrary to rumors that he was grounded for the maneuver, Snodgrass wrote in 1998 that the “banana move” (named for its curved trajectory) was authorised as element of the airshow part of a Dependents’ Day Cruise for the people of carrier staff.
Snodgrass might not have owned the Italian-manufactured SIAI Marchetti SM1019 that crashed Saturday for incredibly prolonged. According to a March 18 submit on the Facebook webpage for his aircraft corporation 717 Aviation, he just lately marketed a 2019 Glasair Aviation Sportsman two-additionally-two solitary-engine airplane.
“Good plane but replacing this with a Marchetti for backcountry traveling,” the publish claimed.
In a 2010 write-up for the Smithsonian Instution’s Air and House Journal, creator Debbie Gary wrote that Snodgrass initial flew the F-14 straight out of flight faculty in 1974, when it was new and no other inexperienced pilots experienced flown it.
“He was the to start with in that classification to land it on a carrier, both day and night,” Gary wrote. “In 1978 he attended Top Gun, the Navy Fighter Weapons School, which turns the ideal pilots into instructors. In 1985, he became the Navy’s Fighter Pilot of the 12 months. The next 12 months, the movie Top Gun turned the viewing community into crazed F-14 followers (Snodgrass did a little flying for it), and (plane producer) Grumman named him Topcat — Best F-14 Pilot of the Year.”
Snodgrass was the sole occupant of the Marchetti, which crashed and caught fireplace on takeoff all-around noon Saturday. No other injuries had been reported, and the Federal Aviation Administration and the Nationwide Transportation Protection Board are investigating.
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