Imagine Steve Hinton, Bruce Boland, John Maloney, and the rest of the Chino Kids standing around the remains of a F4U-1 Corsair in the Planes of Fame storage yard. They're looking at it - scratching their heads - and cradling their chins - in deep thought. They wanted to go air racing again. They had resources that included a warbird restoration shop, every conceivable skill that would be required, and very little money.
By all accounts, the neck injury alone should have paralyzed or killed him. Upon examination, his parachute was within a hair of falling apart. Due to the speed at the time the chute opened, three panels blew out, and the bottom skirt had one-eighth of an inch of nylon left before it would have torn. At every step, it seemed Eldridge had used up every ounce of luck in the world.
Warbird Aero Press would like to thank Kevin Eldridge for his time and effort with this interview. Eldridge now flies for American Airlines.
Story Copyright by Scott Germain 2000. Photos by Scott Germain, Gerald Liang and Nick Veronico. All rights Reserved.