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Thread: James “Crashdown” Ashdown

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Eugene, OR
    Posts
    33

    Default James “Crashdown” Ashdown

    Anyone out there remember this incident or this guy? It bugged me for years but none of my friends could remember anything about this story when I would ask them about it. But I was convinced it happened and was not a "fig newton" of my imagination.

    I even emailed someone at The Advertiser a few years ago and asked him to ask around but everything came up blank. No nothing. And nothing on the internet I could find either either. I thought I was going insane. So right near the time The Advertiser was going to be swallowed up by the S-A, the Advertiser was asking for the old time memories that people had of peculiar and fun old time stories.

    I gave it one last shot, asked about the incident (I had no clue as to the name of the guy), and they published my letter. Then my phone started ringing and 4 people called me throughout the day telling be tales of James “Crashdown" Ashdown. What a character I tell you. Amazing, slightly off kilter guy. The kind who are now being overly tamed. I compiled the stories told to me into a more or less complete story (it’s on my old computer) and was thinking of posting it on Wikipedia or somewhere when I get it finished. It’s just been sitting for about a year now. Anyone out there remember the day Waikiki and Portlock were buzzed by this guy? Ashdown’s life would make for a great tale or short movie (Colorful Characters)--I am sure of that:

    http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/ar...ii6040350.html

  2. #2

    Default Re: James “Crashdown” Ashdown

    I talked to Ashdown for an earlier story in the Star-Bulletin. All he remembers about buzzing Waikiki is opening the pilot's window and yelling Yaaahooo! as he sped by the hotels. Then he hit a radio tower in Waipahu and filleted open the bottom of the B-25. When he landed at Honolulu, the police were waiting and he kept gunning his engines and chasing them.

    The B-25 was one of two used by an aerial mapping service. The other one was abandoned, seized by the state, given to Bishop Museum, then the AeroSpace Museum. I helped repaint the plane several times while it was on loan to Hickam AFB. Today, much of it is on display at Ford Island at the Pacific Aviation Museum.
    Burl Burlingame
    "Art is never finished, only abandoned." -- Leonardo Da Vinci
    honoluluagonizer.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Eugene, OR
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: James “Crashdown” Ashdown

    Quote Originally Posted by buzz1941 View Post
    I talked to Ashdown for an earlier story in the Star-Bulletin. All he remembers about buzzing Waikiki is opening the pilot's window and yelling Yaaahooo! as he sped by the hotels.
    Today, much of it (the B-25) is on display at Ford Island at the Pacific Aviation Museum.
    That’s great. Is there a link to the Star Bulletin story? Ashdown died at 77 in Florida a few years ago if you missed that.

    i didn’t know the plane was on display at Ford Island. I will have to check that out next time I am in Honolulu. I also have a collection of articles on this that were sent to me by one of the callers who responded to my Advertiser letter. Great stuff.
    And I am surprised a program was not made about this.

    Perhaps it would be deemed to wild for our tamed and PC times. And if something like this were to happen today Ashdown’s plane would be shot out of the sky by Air Force or Marine jets in a matter of minutes. And Ashdown would have been sent to federal prison or a psychiatric institution for the rest of his life.

    Times have indeed changed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Kalihi
    Posts
    503

    Default Re: James “Crashdown” Ashdown

    I remember the incident but completely forgot about it until I read this.

  5. #5

    Default Re: James “Crashdown” Ashdown

    Not the same plane, but her sister ship from the mapping service, a Kansas City-built J model with the cowls swapped out and some other items to backdate it into a B model, so it will resemble a Doolittle bird.

    The story ran pre-Internet, so alas, not easily found.

    I recall that Ashdown said something like, "You know how they revoke your license for life? They revoked mine for two lifetimes."
    Burl Burlingame
    "Art is never finished, only abandoned." -- Leonardo Da Vinci
    honoluluagonizer.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Eugene, OR
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: James “Crashdown” Ashdown

    Quote Originally Posted by buzz1941 View Post
    I recall that Ashdown said something like, "You know how they revoke your license for life? They revoked mine for two lifetimes."
    Perhaps. But from what I was told, he managed to get his pilots license back!! after that infamous incident by faking his identity--under the name of McPhee--his mothers maiden name. Then he somehow managed to again get his pilots license back and fly inter island for Mid-Pac Airlines for one whole year until he was recognized by a passenger as Ashdown, and then all hell broke loose.

    You just can’t make this stuff up! The story gets better but that’s all I am going to say for now. And I ache for the old days--before we were all stripped of such adventures.

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