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Money doesn't make you smart
Old 06-27-2005, 09:21 PM   #1
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Money doesn't make you smart

I understand being frugal and making your own airplane with cloth-wrapped wings if you can't afford a plane but really want to fly, but this guy was worth $18 billion.* I think he could have splurged on the best plane on the market.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/...in704642.shtml

One of the country's richest men, John Walton, died Monday when his homemade aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff from the Jackson Hole Airport in Wyoming just after noon.

Walton, 58, the son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and a member of the company's board, was piloting a lightweight, homemade aircraft. It crashed near the airport in Grand Teton National Park, the company said.

In March, Forbes Magazine listed Walton as No. 11 on its list of the world's richest people, with a net worth of $18.2 billion, tied with his brother Jim Walton. In 2004, Forbes listed Walton, along with his two brothers, a sister and mother as the fourth wealthiest people in the United States.

The crash occurred at approximately 12:20 p.m., according to Wyoming news sources, and the cause has not yet been determined. Walton, 58, was the aircraft's sole occupant.

The plane is an experimental class of aircraft, the National Park Service told the Casper Star-Tribune. It had a light, gas-powered engine and an aluminum frame, with wings rapped in cloth, making them similar to boat sales. It probably weighed less than 500 pounds.
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart
Old 06-27-2005, 09:57 PM   #2
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart

Read that Walton was once a crop duster. Don't know anything about him, but wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't the type who got flying in his blood and wanted to try his hand at piloting anything and everything he could get his hands on.

Also, there is the "I'm rich and smart so I can do anything" syndrome. A lot of physicians have 'retired early' as the result of this malady. The Beech Bonanza was once a favorite of the medical profession for some reason. (You may remember the aircraft...had a unique 'V" tail). Guess it was a status symbol for a doc to own one. So many of them crashed that the plane was known in the private aviation world as the 'forked-tail doctor killer'.

Something tells me Walton didn't build that lightweight himself. Can you say "lawsuit"?

REW
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart
Old 06-27-2005, 10:02 PM   #3
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart

He also had been a combat medic in Vietnam where he won a Silver Star.
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart
Old 06-27-2005, 11:06 PM   #4
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart

I bet he got the plane at a special Low, Low Price.
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart
Old 06-28-2005, 12:48 AM   #5
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPatrick
He also had been a combat medic in Vietnam where he won a Silver Star.
High testosterone guy. My hat's off to him.
ha
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart
Old 06-28-2005, 04:49 AM   #6
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart

My best friend was a combat medic in Viet Nam. He is one of those guys who prefers not to talk about it.

Re. ultralites and experimental aircraft, I was driving to
Nebraska last week and passed a sign which said "You can fly an ultralite!" Pretty soon I passed the airport where several were
parked. Been a risk taker all my life, but when it comes to
flying something about the size of my lawnmower............
no thank you.

JG
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart
Old 06-28-2005, 05:03 AM   #7
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whakamole
I bet he got the plane at a special Low, Low Price.
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart
Old 06-28-2005, 12:18 PM   #8
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart

John Walton, John Denver, John Kennedy Jr., Howard Hughes, ... (add names here)...

Did these guys think there's a direct correlation between net worth & pilot skill? Any aircraft owners out there who are changing their emergency planning?

Notice that this list is exclusively male?
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart
Old 06-28-2005, 12:31 PM   #9
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart

Nords,
I'll add Amlia Earheart(sp). There now you have woman in the mix as well.
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart
Old 06-28-2005, 01:09 PM   #10
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart

He must have been an adrenalin junkie ......it hits all income levels.
More power to him!


Cheers,

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Re: Money doesn't make you smart
Old 06-28-2005, 01:51 PM   #11
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart

Bennie - neither famous nor rich - still mixes his own special av gas between Pep boys and the self serve - old Cessna - still has his bumper sticker - There are old pilots and bold pilots - But there are no old, bold pilots.

The best I ever saw - many years ago -

Fly Insane - Fly Experimental Aircraft.

After thirty years in aerospace - I know some who are still here and some who are no longer with us.

I don't fly. Too expensive for my frugal heart - lucky me.
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart
Old 06-28-2005, 02:03 PM   #12
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart

Kinda dough he had, just needed a cb radio and a pilot, coulda had his own remote control plane.

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Re: Money doesn't make you smart
Old 06-28-2005, 02:25 PM   #13
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helios
Kinda dough he had, just needed a cb radio and a pilot, coulda had his own remote control plane.
Where's the fun in that? Honestly though, you guys are saying that none of you out there has never wanted to do something (maybe risky) just for the kicks?

BTW - If I remember correctly, ultrlights don't fall under the same FAA req's that a full size plane does. I don't even think that you need a license.
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart
Old 06-28-2005, 02:27 PM   #14
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whakamole
I bet he got the plane at a special Low, Low Price.
Wonder if it was made in China. Seriously, sounds like the guy lived life the way he wanted and went out with a bang, more power to him.
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart
Old 06-28-2005, 02:59 PM   #15
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Re: Money doesn't make you smart

Quote:
Originally Posted by frayne
...more power to him.
If the plane had more power, we might not be having this conversation.
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