Post by Sir Tim
I always felt that Tim was at least as good as his brother
Post by Sir Tim
but he never did much after Tony was killed (for whose death I hold Graham
Hill very culpable).
I believe it's very hard for a star driver with a healthy ego to be cautious and moderate in assessing their skills and aptitudes in other areas. Would a professional pilot have attempted what Graham Hill tried?
The racing fraternity seems to have had a cavalier attitude towards flying way back when. Even Mosley, who was keen on on track safety, seemed to have thought it a bit of a lark.
He tells a tale about flying out of Brands Hatch with Chapman at the controls. The plane was overloaded. Ecclestone and Piquet had to stand. Chapman just managed to clear the telephone wires, but told the passengers that he often got the undercarriage tangled in phone wires. But they're no problem, really. The power lines were more of a problem.
On another occasion, after a FOCA meeting with Enzo Ferrari, Chapman and Ecclestone played a game of gradual persuasion with a pilot who didn't want to take off on a fog bound, iced up runway. It started off with Bernie suggesting they all stay seated in the plane just in case conditions improve. Then he got the pilot to start the engines. To keep the passengers warm, that's all. Then, well, you might as well taxi to the runway because the fog might lift.
At this point, Bernie nearly ruined everything. Noticing some lights coming on and people looking out of windows he joked that "they've come to see the shunt", which got the pilot agitated. Chapman was sent to calm the pilot, and did such a good job that they took off on the icy runway with Chapman calling out instrument readings whilst the pilot tried to see through the fog.
This sounds like typical Chapman. In hotels he used to deliberately overload elevators, and then have the passengers jump up and down to see if the elevator was properly engineered or not.
But it does seem a bit odd given that several of the people involved in these two episodes knew from personal experience how deadly motor racing could be.