Famed German Ace Gunther Rall Passes Away

    EAA Warbirds of America has learned that Gunther Rall, the world’s third ranking fighter ace of all time, died at his home in Germany on Sunday, October 4, 2009, after suffering a heart attack on Friday, October 2. He was 91.

    Rall attended EAA AirVenture in both 2007 and 2009, where he participated in standing-room-only Warbirds in Review programs. Rall also participated in the Fighter Pilot Legends program in 2007. Watch video. His autobiography, My Logbook, remains as one of the best-selling books in the EAA Warbirds of America inventory.

    Rall was born in 1918 and joined the German army in 1936. Eventually, he began flight training in the Luftwaffe, qualifying as a pilot in 1938. He participated in aerial battles over France, Great Britain, Crete, the Eastern Front, and the final defense of Germany. The vast majority of his 275 aerial victories were achieved against Russian aircraft on the Eastern Front. For the most part, he flew the Messerschmitt 109 in combat. In the closing months of the war he also flew the FW-190 and ME-262.

    Gunther Rall (center) with Ed and Connie Bowlin  after Rall’s Warbird In Review 2007 presentation at Oshkosh.

    Rall, who was shot down eight times and severely wounded several times, he was finally captured by the Americans near the end of the war. Eventually, he was freed and went to work in the civilian world. When the Luftwaffe was re-formed in 1956, he joined and was involved with the F-104 program. He also served as Inspekteur der Luftwaffe der Bundeswehr. Rall was later a German military liaison to NATO. He closed out his military career in the mid-1970’s and was a popular speaker in his retirement years.

    EAA Warbirds of America sends their condolences to his family and friends.

    Gunther Rall, Bob Hoover, Bud Anderson, Don Lopez, Shorty Rankin, Theater In The Woods, AirVenture 2007



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