2017 Dayton Airshow Marred By Thunderbird Accident But Highlighted by Other Performers

By Mike Heilman

The Thunderbirds diamond practices upon arrival to 2017 Dayton Air Show. The Thunderbird arrived on Monday before the show but had to cancel their performances due to mishap with the team’s two-seat F-16D. (Mike Heilman)In 2106 the Dayton Air Show attendance suffered from a cancellation of the headline act two weeks before the show, when the U.S. Navy Blue Angels experienced a tragic accident at an air show in Tennessee.  Once again in 2017, the show experienced another cancellation of the headlining act due to a near tragic accident of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. The mishap happened at the Dayton International Airport less than 24 hours before the show was scheduled to open.

Thunderbird number 8, the two-seat F-16D “Fighting Falcon,” was conducting a crew familiarization flight in the Dayton area when upon return to the airport the jet skidded off the runway and flipped over trapping the pilot Capt. Erik Gonsalvas and Tech Sgt. Kenneth Cordova for almost two hours.  The Thunderbird crewmembers were transported to a local hospital in good condition. There was heavy rain at the time of the mishap from remnants of tropical storm Cindy.

On Friday Michael Emoff, Chairman U.S. Air & Trade Show Board of Trustees, held a press conference to discuss the weekend’s show after the mishap. “When you first hear about something like this you pray that everything is okay and for the health of those involved.  Once you understand that everything is under control, you then start working on what I can do. My job as Chair of the air show is to ensure that we produce a safe and quality show for our community.”

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Editorial: Drones, Coming to Your Neighborhood Soon

CEC Drone Hangar (Ed Downs

By Ed Downs

More and more, those of us in contemporary aviation, especially GA pilots, are likely to encounter drones. The passage of FAR 107 last year formalized the registration, pilot certification standards, and operational parameters of drones, eliminating the complex exemption process that had been in place. This has caused a near explosion in the use of these devices for what most would consider “commercial operations.” While hobbyists with model airplanes may still enjoy their passion without becoming involved in the federal bureaucracy, those using drones for any form of business or commercial operations (which are very broadly defined under FAR 107) must be certificated and follow strict rules of flight. 

CEC new headquarters. (Ed Downs)Having acquired my own FAA UAS Certificate last year and teaching two UAS pilot classes (one for a municipal utility provider), it is becoming apparent that what we generically refer to as “drones” are entering the mainstream of legitimate aviation. At this point, let me be technically correct. While the term “drone” tends to refer to all machines that fly or hover without a pilot onboard, the true term that should be used is UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) or UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle). “System” implies a pilot is constantly involved per FAR 107, while “vehicle” implies autonomous operation.  For the sake of this editorial view, let’s just call them “drones.

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