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Tim Adams wrote:
Nineteen seconds of monumental stupidity in North Texas.
If I were setting up this shot I would have marked the runway spot where the videographer was to stand at a half-span-plus-n-feet from the edge stripe, so the pilot has something to aim for that guarantees clearance, minimal though it may be. You can see in the video that the pilot has the Pitts stabilized, wings level, angling across the runway and clearly aimed to miss the videographer. Then he starts a bank _toward_ the videographer about a half-second before passing his/her position. It's awfully close, but the angle's improving rapidly in the last couple of frames before he passes by. Mind you, I would never volunteer to be that videographer and it was _really_ close. All I'm saying is that it was probably carefully set up and there was an easy out until a moment before minimum separation, if anything hadn't looked right.
Reminds me of the story Derek Piggott told us one day at the late, lamented Black Forest Gliderport, talking about filming the classic aviation movie, The Blue Max. His stunt on this occasion required flying a WWI fighter under a bridge with piers that were spaced only a few feet wider than his wingspan. In setting up the stunt he placed two poles at different distances on the far side of the bridge to set up a sort of range: if he had the poles lined up on approaching the bridge he could be assured of clearance on both wingtips; if he didn't have the poles lined up, he'd just pop over the bridge and go around to try again. It worked, they shot 20 takes, and he lived to tell the story.
Here's an imdb.com page that mentions the stunt: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060177/trivia