Paraplegic Hang Glider Dazzles At Air Show


By Aimee Burnett

Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT-TV) It's no doubt performers at the Magic Valley air show are talented, the cream of the crop.

One of those performers relies on a wheelchair to get around, but in the sky, he puts on a dynamic and entertaining hang gliding show.

Dan Buchanan is a master showman.

The award– winning aerobatic hang glider has been perfecting his craft for over three decades.

"I got into hang gliding about 32 years ago and it was purely opportunity," said Dan Buchanan, Aerobatic Hang Glider.

Buchanan, a scuba instructor at the time, traded scuba lessons to two students for hang gliding lessons.

But, a year later a hang gliding accident left him in a wheelchair.
"Glider hit me hard on the head, on the helmet, after I'd landed and that reinjured an old motorcycle injury," said Buchanan.

Despite the unfortunate turn of events, Buchanan would not be grounded.

In just five months, he was soaring high above the ground again.

It was ten years later another opportunity came knocking.

"I was with a bunch of friends flying off of a mountain up in Oregon and this Jeep came by and he was a producer of the Medford, Oregon air show, he asked if we could do something with a hang glider in the show, so we did," said Buchanan.

"Buchanan has been performing in air shows for over two decades, dazzling spectators with his colored smoke and special effects.

"It's all about you know sparkles and fireworks and airplanes," said Buchanan.

Soaring anywhere from 1,200 to 1,800 feet above the crowd, Buchanan's show is packed with comedy.

"Usually I'll launch whenever I want to be involved with someone else's act and today I think I'll cause a hard time for Kent Pietsch with the little yellow air plane," said Buchanan.

Entertaining the masses with his adventurous passion.

When asked why he flies, Buchanan's response is, "I have to fly, I can't walk."

If you missed his performance today you can catch the encore Sunday during the final day of the air show.

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