Local air shows reviewing safety after deadly Dayton crash

11:50 PM, Jun 24, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- The horrific images of a wing walker and her pilot, who were killed at the Dayton air show Saturday, still lingers in the minds of many.

For Chad Hudock, it's a reminder of the importance of safety.

Hudock is the owner of Flightline Safety Team, a Willoughby-based consulting company, and has advised Ohio air shows about safety for the last 15 years.

He personally knew wing walker Jane Wicker, who died after her plane lost its balance, and smashed into the ground.

"Jane and her pilot were consummate professionals," he said.

As the National Transportation Safety Board investigates the cause of the crash, Hudock expects the tragedy will force local air shows to pay more attention to safety measures.

However, he believes the air show policies set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration already do a good job.

The FAA inspects each plane, requires pilot physicals, sets rules on a plane's air speed, and the space between the planes and the audience. Planes are barred from flying toward spectators.

For more than 50 years, there were no spectator deaths at air shows, until a horrific crash in 2011 in Reno, which killed 11 people and injured more than 70.

In light of the Dayton tragedy, Hudock expects more scrutiny on low altitude flying, and the FAA's waivers that allow wing walking.

"Planes are built by people, and there's always a chance of human error," said Hudock.

"We can always do better."


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