EAA Warbirds of America Mourns Loss of Bob Guilford, Founding Member

    EAA Warbirds of America is deeply saddened at the loss of Robert E. Guilford, a founding member of the organization, who was killed tragically on July 16 when his Hawker Hunter Mk. 58 British Jet Fighter crashed in Hillsboro, Oregon, following an air show. He helped found the organization back in the 1960s and had the distinction of being Warbird #4. Guilford reportedly had planned to attend EAA AirVenture this year.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with the Guilford family.

    The following is a statement released by the California law firm Baum Hedlund where he worked.

    Our partner and dear friend, Robert E. Guilford, died on July 16, 2006 in a plane crash. Bob was heading home from an Oregon air show in his beloved Hawker Hunter Mk. 58 swept-wing British Jet Fighter, when his plane went down in a Hillsboro neighborhood. Witnesses are describing his efforts to control the plane as heroic, saying that it looked like he did everything he could to avoid hurting anyone on the ground. Though he could have ejected, he tried to control the aircraft as long as possible.

    Bob was a highly skilled pilot and a brilliant air disaster attorney. Aviation was his life. When he was not working at the firm, representing aviation accident victims, he was enjoying flying his planes. Bob had a great enthusiasm for high-performance aircraft. It was not too long after he earned his pilot license that he made the move to piston-powered fighters. Bob owned a series of aircraft: a racing F4U Corsair called "Blue Max" (the Corsair with the longest racing history), AD Skyraider, Spitfire, F8F Bearcat, P-51 Mustang, T-6, T-28, Hawker Sea Fury, Soko Galeb and the Hawker Hunter. He was the only FAA Authorized Instructor for the Hawker Hunter. He was authorized to train pilots to fly this aircraft, recommend them to the FAA and to requalify pilots after lapse of proficiency.

    Air shows were very much a part of Bob's life. He began turning the pylons with his Corsair at the 1970 California 1,000 race held in Mojave. Then he participated in the Reno Air Races for 17 years and appeared at air shows across the country ever since. Bob has adorned aviation magazine covers and been featured in many articles and books about air sporting events including CNN, where he was the subject of a piece on civilian pilot air safety. Other pilots, even some as experienced as he, asked him for advice when taking on a new airplane, as he had the most experience.

    Bob co-founded the Warbirds of America, one of the nation's leading vintage military aircraft organizations (now a division of the Experimental Aircraft Association) and has been chairman of the board, trustee, chief pilot, president, vice-president and member of many aviation organizations.

    After receiving his law degree from Harvard in 1958 he became a commercial and instrument-rated pilot. He served for a year as Assistant U.S. Attorney, Department of Justice, Los Angeles, CA, and then went into private practice. Bob joined Baum Hedlund in 1992 specializing in aviation accident law. He was a member of the Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Bob had the highest lawyer rating with Martindale Hubbell and is listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, Who's Who in America, Who's Who in American Law, Southern California Super Lawyers and in Aviation Counsel Magazine's List of Recommended High Flyers.

 

   

     
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