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Old, bold, and flying for Gold
February 11, 2006 9:45 AM   Subscribe

The greatest Hollywood stunt pilots of them all, Frank Tallman and Paul Mantz not only looked the part, but flew camera ships, raced planes, and performed amazing aerial stunts in films for over 40 years. Not long after forming Tallmantz Aviation, Mantz was killed on location in the excellent 1965 version of Flight of the Phoenix. Tallman, grounded on FOTP due to a go-cart accident, lost his leg as a result but flew in movies for another 13 years until crashing in 1978.
posted by cenoxo (6 comments total)

 
Excellent, excellent post. I had no idea these men even existed. Thanks!
posted by wolftrouble at 9:49 AM on February 11, 2006


Crashing should automatically take you out of the category "greatest", IMHO.

Or maybe add an asterisk: Greatest Stunt Pilot*

*right up until his fatal crash
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:50 AM on February 11, 2006


Great post!
posted by Dr. Wu at 11:22 AM on February 11, 2006


Surprised there was no mention of Art Scholl, who had a ton of stun and flying camera credits to his name.
posted by TeamBilly at 12:49 PM on February 11, 2006


er...stunt. I mean stunt.

though it was often stunning...
posted by TeamBilly at 12:49 PM on February 11, 2006


mr_crash_davis: Crashing should automatically take you out of the category "greatest", IMHO.

Not at all. For high perfomance pilots like Tallman, Mantz, and Scholl who continually pushed the limits of their aircraft, their long careers are a testament to their flying skills. However, luck, good or bad, still plays a part. As Bob Hoover, who retired in one piece after many decades of military and aerobatic flying, said:
"I don't think I possess any skill that anyone else doesn't have. I've just had perhaps more of an opportunity, more of an exposure, and been fortunate to survive a lot of situations that many other weren't so lucky to make it. It's not how close can you get to the ground, but how precise can you fly the airplane."
posted by cenoxo at 1:27 PM on February 11, 2006


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