EAA Staff / Moderator
Warbird Pilot and Owner Howard Pardue
Just received word that legendary warbird pilot and owner Howard Pardue passed away today. Mr. Pardue was inducted into the EAA Warbirds Hall of Fame in 2004. Rest in Peace Sir.
WARBIRDS HALL OF FAME Howard Pardue: Pardue (EAA #127179) has logged 14,000 flight hours in 120 different types of aircraft over 50 years of flying. He flew more than a dozen types of aircraft as a military pilot, then turned to warbird air show flying and competing at the National Championship Air Races. Pardue also showed his passion for military aircraft by founding the Breckenridge Aviation Museum in Texas.
Zack, what ? I just spoke to Howard on the phone Fri, and I hadn't heard anything of this.
I feel half in shock.
I just flew back into Aspen. I wasn't sure if I could or should fly, but it isn't going to get any better tomorrow. I tried to be methodical, not miss anything, but part way back at 14,.000 I realized that I had plugged in the oxygen, turned it on, but never put it on my face.
It was very beautiful up there, a perfect day, but none of it seemed real.
Howard was my friend. I have know him since coming into warbirds 30 years ago when he and Jay Cullum and a few others took me in as a new guy and taught me so much. I have flown with Howard in his Fury, his Corsair, his Duke, and he with me in both my planes. He once ferried my plane to its annual when I was in bed after a ski injury and operation. I have flown beside him on a few trips, and in a number of airshows. We have skied together, the last time just last month, and had countless meals and drinks together. He loaned me his car when weather grounded us in Breckenridge, and flew me to Houston when I needed a ride.
I think anyone who knew Howard considered him a friend. If you didn't get to know him you would have enjoyed it. Some people seem to think Howard might be stern and serious. Not at all, he was like a big kid, and when you were with Howard there was always some kind of fun. And almost everyone in avation, certainly the fun part of aviaton, knew Howard. He could remember people's names once he met them, almost a photo memory. And lots of people, not just the famous or vips.
Howard had a great sense of humor, one of his favorite things was teasing me about almost anything. If Howard was not making fun of me, I'd feel left out. He could dish it out, but he could take it too. Mostly I kidded him about smoking those cigars.
He lived life much bigger than so many of us do, and he left a very big shadow.
My thoughts are with Carolyn, and Howards children.
All losses hurt, but this one is going to leave a very big hole for a very long time.
I just spoke to him 4 days ago, and asked him to join me at a spring football game in Austin, but they had plans in west Texas.
Last edited by Bill Greenwood; 04-04-2012 at 11:05 PM.
EAA Staff / Moderator
Bill, I never had the privilege of meeting or knowing Mr. Pardue, but I certainly appreciate his contributions to the warbird community. I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. If you need to talk, you can reach me in the office tomorrow at 920-426-6839.
I never had the privelage to meet Mr Pardue, either. But being a Corsair fan, his was one of the first names I came to recognize when I joined EAA & the Warbirds of America. And I always enjoyed his performances, in the "Cats", at AirVenture. God speed, kind sir. You will be missed.
Thanks guys. One thing that seems strange is to see or hear people call him "Mr. Pardue". I never once heard him introduce himself that way or as Major Pardue either. He is/was just Howard, and even though larger than life in many ways, he was confident enough within himself that he did not need all the build up and who ha that you so often hear others promote themselves with.
I am at the hotel near DFW, getting ready to drive to Breckenridge for his service today at 2pm at First Christian Church. The church is just past the bank building where his Mom was on the top floor and on the way to the airport. I am not looking forward to it.
This will be the first time in 30 years that I've gone to Breckenridge for something that was not fun or something with Howard or Carolyn that was not fun.
Say a prayer for those involved and everyone try to fly a little safer.