Two years ago, Jimmy Leeward flew a plane in an air show in Reno, Nevada. The plane crashed and Leeward was killed, as were nine spectators.
Leeward was 74 years old.
People were quick to blame Leeward’s age for the crash, saying that a man his age had no business flying a plane.
In the video, an experienced pilot notices a problem with the plane’s tail.
I am not a pilot or an aviation inspector. I can’t say what caused the crash.
What I will say is that it was not Leeward’s age.
People age at different rates. My own father died at 74 from a variety of health problems. He had vascular dementia among his other issues. Certainly there is no way that he should have been flying a plane.
My father’s age would not be the reason why he shouldn’t have been flying a plane. The vascular dementia would have.
I feel that it wouldn’t be wrong to test a pilot’s skills every few years, regardless of age, to make sure that they are still capable of flying.
While certain problems become more likely with age, there is no guarantee that every person will have the same set of problems at any given age.
A person’s reaction time does slow with age, but their overall knowledge and skills improve.
Let us not assume that because a person is advanced in years that they are doddering, decrepit, and senile.