Update: Paso Robles man killed in vintage plane crash
Sherman Smoot was Estrella Warbirds Museum board director
– The Estrella Warbirds Museum Board of Directors reports today the Friday death of Sherman “Sherm” Smoot, as a result of a fatal aircraft accident.
A member of the museum for many years, he was currently a director on the board and had served as president of the board from 2013 to 2015 and again from 2016 to 2017. “Sherman brought a wealth of aviation knowledge and experience to the museum,” said one board member. “He will be missed and difficult to replace.”
He was born in San Luis Obispo and grew up in the north San Luis Obispo County area. His father owned an aviation pipeline patrol business based at the Paso Robles Airport, which was probably the influence that guided Sherman into a career in aviation.
He joined the U.S. Navy, earned his wings in 1972, and served two tours during the Vietnam War, flying aircraft carrier-based F-4J Phantoms. Sherman left active duty in 1977 to fly for Continental Airlines, but continued to fly F-4’s for another 4 years in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He retired from Continental Airlines in 2005, after flying for 28 years for them.
Sherman got involved with the Reno Air Races about 25 years ago and won the AT-6/SNJ National Championship in 1998. He flew a highly modified Yak-11 in the unlimited class for several years, and finished in the top four if he wasn’t eliminated by a mechanical problem. The past few years he flew a Hawker MK 11 Sea Fury and won second place in 2021.
He was chief pilot for the Gooney Birds Group which owns and operates the Douglas C-47 displayed at the Museum. Sherman and a crew flew the vintage air transport to Normandy, France in 2019 for the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Normandy invasion during World War II.
Our collective hearts are broken after the loss of Sherman Smoot and Czechmate. Great plane and even greater pilot! Blue skies & Tailwinds, sir. @RenoAirRaces @icas_hq @FlyingMagazine @AirshowStuff #airrace #airshow #aviation pic.twitter.com/Q6HUDsKZ2f
— LiveAirshowTV (@LiveAirShowTV) September 3, 2022
Original report Saturday, 7 a.m.:
Paso Robles man killed in vintage plane crash
Pilot considered a ‘local legend in the air racing community’
– A man recently found dead after crashing a vintage plane he was flying near Minter Field in Shafter has been identified as Sherman Smoot, according to a report by ABC23.
The Kern County Fire Department says the man was flying a World War II plane that had been converted for air racing competition.
Several witnesses confirmed to 23ABC that the pilot was Sherman Smoot, considered a local legend in the air racing community.
According to officials with the Warbirds Museum, Smoot was their former president and was currently a board member. He was set to be the keynote speaker at the museum’s 30th-anniversary celebration on September 12th.
Born in San Luis Obispo, Smoot was raised in North San Luis Obispo County. He entered Navy flight school in 1971 and left active duty in 1977 to pursue an airline career with continental airlines.
Smoot was an owner of Bella Luna Winery in Templeton.