The Red Knight
Rick Brickett 1955 - 1993
During its service with the Royal Canadian Air Force (1958–1968) and the Canadian Forces (1968–1969), the Red Knight was flown by seventeen different pilots from four different bases. Beginning in 1961 a second Red Knight aircraft with alternate pilot entered service, and the aircraft sometimes performed together or separately in different locations. An accident involving two Red Knights occurred in August 21, 1963 at the Gimli Air Force Day airshow. When the aircraft were performing a Cuban 8, alternate pilot Wayne MacLellan recognized that he was too low to the ground and aborted the manoeuvre. Lead pilot J.W. "Bud" Morin failed to recognize this and was killed when his plane contacted the ground. An air force investigation allowed the team to continue, but forbade any further coordinated acts.
The Red Knight had five trouble-free years of flying after Morin's accident, but that was cut short when pilot John Reid crashed during a photo shoot on May 22, 1968. After conducting a low-altitude loop, Reid could not pull the aircraft up fast enough and crashed into the ground. Though he was thrown clear of the wreckage, Reid died in hospital. This tragedy was closely followed by another. On July 13, 1969, Red Knight Bryan Alston was killed when his Tutor suffered a power failure and crashed during the forced landing.p These two crashes in short succession led the air force to seriously reconsider the program. Ultimately, because of budget considerations and personnel cuts, the Red Knight program was canceled in 1969.
After its disappearance as a formal demonstration aircraft, the Red Knight was resurrected as a private show in the United States. Between 1990 and 1993, Rick Brickert flew a restored Lockheed T-33 in airshows around the United States and as the pace plane for the Reno Air Races. After Rick's death in 1993 when he crashed the Pond Racer experimental aircraft, the T-33 sat unused until acquired by Red Knight Air Shows, LLC in 2003. This company currently operates the T-33 and coordinates appearances at airshows around the continent.
The Pond Racer
Bob Pond commissioned the design with the idea of developing a modern aircraft that could compete with the vintage warbirds in the Unlimited Class at the Reno air races. Bob Pond was concerned that each year at the Reno Air Races, valuable and historic aircraft were being crashed and destroyed, not to mention many engines being damaged or wrecked beyond repair. The Pond Racer was hoped to be an alternative to vintage aircraft like the P-51 Mustang and the Hawker Sea Fury that would be as fast and spectacular in the air as the warbirds.
The Red Knight’s death in bizarrely similar circumstances to the The Black Knight during in Reno NV Airshow 16 year later lead one to the conclusion of quantum coincidence?
On September 14, 1993, the Pond Racer was entered again and once more, piloted by Rick Brickert. During qualifying, the aircraft began leaking oil and suffered an engine failure leaving the right propeller unfeathered. Brickett pulled up, lowered the landing gear, and chose to perform a belly landing by retracting the gear again. The aircraft overshot a smooth landing area and crashed in rough terrain, killing the pilot.
No one in air-racing has ever loved a "go-fast" airplane more than Rick Brickert. Having flown some of the fastest like Dago Red, Dreadnought and then the Pond Racer, Rick packed a lot of excitement into his race career. In 1991, he did double duty flying the T-33 Red Knight as the unlimited class pace plane and debuting the Pond Racer. Tragically, the Pond Racer and Rick were lost in qualifying at Reno in 1993.
The photo of the Pond Racer was taken in 1991 and was featured on the cover of World Airshow News one week before Rick's loss in 1993, photo of Rick on Dago's wing was shot in 1985.
On July 3, 1977, the P-51 took off in westerly direction, and soon, at low altitude, turned left for almost 180 degrees, crossed the southern airfield area ineastward direction,still remaining in low altitude (about 100 feet),apparently in order to gain speed. Then abruptly rose up at a pretty steep angle, estimated 40 to 45 degrees. Shortly after the begin of the climb the pilot rolled the plane into a 360° spin and then continued the climb upside down. And then, evidently before he had gained enough height for doing this voluntarily, the plane, still flying upside down,came imto a loop downward. I stared to what was develloping ,just for a short instant expecting a surprising aerobatic trick, but an instant later it was clear: The downward loop could’nt possibly be completed before hitting the ground. And so the Mustang, far by having regained horizontal flying position ran into the forest about a mile away,at an angle of estimated 30 degrees. No fire, no smoke was seen. For me, in this moment it was completely clear, that there had been no chance of survival, whereas a lot of people around us had’nt quite comprehended what had happened until a public anouncement came over,saying that “the worst had to be expected”.
Even the bizarrely I witness the exact same accident at RAF Mildenhall USAF Airshow July 1984 when a Beechcraft Baron Twin prop fail the make it out the or loop crashed into the ground opposite to me as I walking with newly purchased Burger and Budweiser. Killing both the Test Pilot and his Co-Pilot.
I clearly remember saying to myself, “That’s too low! Far too low! They are not going to make it!” Time went into slow motion, each second because a minute and I knew the dreadful truth. The plane began to burn the the fire trucks rushed across the runway.
While the 500,000 crowd and the commenter were obliviously to drama.
Seven year to month since the demised of the Black Knight and nine years before the demised of the Red Knight.
For a PDF on “The Red Knight” press the button below:https://theredknight.ca/images/pdfs/aircraft.pdf