Pilot Killed in Kansas City Air Show Tragedy

A pilot was killed Saturday after his plane crashed at the Kansas City Aviation Expo Air Show, fox4kc.com reports.

The pilot, identified as Bryan Jensen, was flying a biplane during the air show at Wheeler Downtown Airport  when it pancaked into the runway as a few thousand spectators watched on the first day of the show, according to the Kansas City Star.

The paper reports that Jensen grew up on an Iowa farm, took his first flying lesson at age 13, soloed on this 16th birthday and later flew jumbo jets for Delta Air Lines, according to the website promoting his passion for aerobatic flying. Jensen had been a stunt pilot for the past 15 years, when not in the captain’s seat of a 747.

Witnesses at the air show told the paper that the custom-built, red biplane was performing aerobatic maneuvers, such as loops and spiral stunts. It did a downward spiral but failed to pull up.

The plane crashed nose-first into the pavement and burst into flames, according to witnesses. The crowd went silent, emergency crews headed for the wreckage, and the show immediately was closed.

Show director Ed Noyallis read a brief statement in a hangar after the crash.

“Our hearts go out to Bryan’s family and loved ones,” he said. Noyallis went on to note that aerobatic flying can be very dangerous, although the public was never in danger.

The NTSB and FAA are investigating the crash.

Click for more on the biplane crash at the air show from the Kansas City Star