P-47 Pilot Identified and Remembered

  • May 28, 2016 10:10am GMT

On Friday evening, Bill Gordon flying American Airpower Museum's P-47 launched out of Republic Airport along with a P-40 and another plane for a photo flight with the iconic warbirds over the New York City skyline.

According to museum officals, the vintage aircraft's engine failed forcing him to ditch in the Hudson River.

The swarm of rescue boats and law enforcement from two sides of the river created erroneous and heartbreaking hope he survived.

ATA's Ric Peterson is at the museum and shared this Saturday. Up early and heading to the briefing here with a heavy heart. We lost Bill Gordon last night after the P-47 he was flying for the American Airpower Museum went down in the Hudson River. I spent most of yesterday afternoon with Bill getting caught up on career, his family and the dog he rescued. He was so looking forward to the sunset photo-flight past the “Lady” in the harbour at the controls of the legendary Thunderbolt. Earlier in the day he updated his profile picture with the shot below. The other photo was taken of us at Canadian Forces Base Borden a few years ago. He will be missed by all here at the museum, in the air show and warbird communities and especially the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. I loved his quirky sense of humour and passion for flying. Today will be a difficult day.

From AAM's Facebook page. To our FB Friends,The Large and extended family of the American Airpower Museum suffered a tragedy on Friday. An extraordinary pilot who understood the powerful message our aircraft represent in telling the story of American Courage and Valor died after bringing our P-47 Thunderbolt to a forced emergency landing in the Hudson River. Bill Gordon was a nationally respected Pilot in our Warbird Community and we are honored to call him one of our own. The FAA and appropriate agencies will determine the reason for the inflight emergency and accident therefore please understand that as a result we will limit our public statement at this time. For the Past 16 years the Thunderbolt has been a potent symbol of our museum, a keystone to our public presentations here and throughout the north east. It is our commitment to Bill, our fraternity of pilots, docents, and ground personnel that our mission will continue, our focus undiminished in presenting these historic aircraft to the new generation so that they better understand our nation's fight to preserve and protect our freedoms. The Museum will stay open this Memorial Day Weekend, we will stand down from Jones Beach airshow operations today and will perform a salute and missing man tribute to our dear friend and pilot Bill Gordon today with the help of our fellow Jones Beach airshow performers. In doing so we keep alive the spirit of what we all hold dear. Our concern right now is making sure the family of our fallen friend, pilot, and colleague is cared for, and our extended Airpower Museum Family. We dedicate the remainder of the weekend's flying in Bill's honor. Thank you for your support, and sympathies.