Pilot 'OK' After Plane Crash At Rexburg Air Show
Rexburg, Idaho (KIDK) Buck Roetman's plane making an unexpected crash landing during a run–through of his performance Friday night at the Legacy Air Show.
The Rexburg event attracts stunt pilots from across the country.
While their dare devil moves are a thrill to watch, they're incredibly risky.
And while he says he's sad he didn't perform, he is lucky. He walked away with just a sprained ankle.
"Our pilot last night who had the incident is in great shape. He's out here watching the show today and he's doing just fine," says John Bagley, Pilot and Show Organizer.
For Georgian Pilot Buck Roetman, aerobatic stunts are something he knows like the back of his hand. It was a maneuver he had been doing for years...barrel rolls with his bi–plane were one of his specialties. It was while he was performing this exact move last night during a preview of today's Legacy Air Show when the plane experienced trouble and gave out during the stunt.
"He did a masterful job at getting her right–side–up. He had a problem with the prop and lost power and....he just got in trouble," says Bagley.
As you can see from the video, the plane never did exactly level out from those rolls. Roetman had to undergo a crash landing onto a golf course next to the Rexburg airport. Friends of Roetman's and fellow pilots say only a true professional could've landed the aircraft in an upright position during a high–pressure situation and have been able to walk away.
Bagley adds, "absolutely, you walk away. Anytime you can walk away, it's a good landing."
Roetman did attend today's show, with the help of crutches. Despite yesterday's crash, crowds were anxious to watch all of the other pilots perform their stunts.
One particular man in the crowd had hope that Roetman would be able to overcome the traumatic crash and return to the skies. Former WW2 pilot and retired U.S. Air Force pilot, Gus Junior, says a bad experience can't outweigh the passion for flight.
Junior says, "I've been retired a long time but every time I get around a plane my heart races and I just want to get in it and fly...and I can visualize in my mind, doing stunts like barrel rolls and dives and things like that."
Roetman's plane is a total loss, as parts of the plane were tossed in all directions on impact. Crews cleaned up the area immediately after the crash and took the destroyed plane to a local shop for storage.