Aerobatic pilot William Gordon, was killed on the Friday ,May 28, 2016 on Memorial day Weekend, at around 7:28 PM EST,while flying a vintage P-47 Thunderbolt ‘Jacky’s Revenge’ over the Hudson River, in New York in preparation for a ceremony sponsored by the American Airpower Museum, owner’s of the plane, Ironically, Gordon was preparing for a sponsored event, celebrating the type’s 75th anniversary, and the fact that the P-47 Thunderbolt was produced in larger numbers than any other WW2 fighter aircraft.
According to eyewitnesses, the aircraft appeared to be experiencing engine problems, in the form of sputtering and ‘backfire sounds, and trailing smoke , according to one observer. It seems pretty clear that Gordon, was attempting a ‘ditch’ as the aircraft impacted the water at a relatively shallow angle, began to sink almost immediately after impact. According to one witness, who said the canopy was opened, and Gordon could be seen, struggling to get free of his stricken craft, but it sank before he could effect his escape. His remains were recovered 3 hour after the tragedy. He was declared dead at the scene. Gordon, a highly accomplished aviator, served with the U.S. Air Force in southeast asia, while racking up 160 missions ,during that conflict, surviving 10 air-to-air engagements and was credited with 1 confirmed victory. During his performances, he flew several types such as P-51 Mustangs , P-40s and P-47s , while performing at numerous venues throughout the North American continent, and Latin America as well. He was 56. The 2016 Airshow season will be a little less bright, and he will sorely be missed.