Gunfighter Skies Air Show pays tribute to hang glider pilot killed in Saturday crash

Mountain Home, (ID) - The Gunfighter Skies Air Show in Mountain Home went on as scheduled Sunday after a majority of Saturday's stunts were canceled when an aerial performance involving a hang glider turned deadly.

The show continued in honor of pilot Dan Buchanan, the longtime air show performer who crashed on the Mountain Home Air Force Base runway Saturday. Buchanan was taken by helicopter to a Boise hospital, where he died from his injuries.

Sunday, aerial performers did their best stunts to pay homage to Buchanan. Fellow pilots and fans are calling Dan a hero.

In 1981, Buchanan wound up with a spinal injury after landing a hang glider in poor weather. The accident left him wheelchair-bound but that didn't stop him from doing what he loved. Six months after his injury, Buchanan returned to flying. He accrued more than 3,000 hours of flight time in hang gliding and sailplanes and then went on to complete his commercial pilot license as a wheelchair user.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of Saturday's accident.

The Mountain Home Air Force Base has been hosting air shows since the 1940's, and while this is the first hang gliding accident on base, a Thunderbirds jet crashed during the same air show in 2003. Tens of thousands of people witnessed as Capt. Chris Stricklin's F-16 crashed into the ground. He ejected safely just a second before impact and no one was injured. That crash was later ruled 'pilot error'.

 

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