Father of an Atlantic native who died in Kansas Air Show Crash talks about his son’s love for flying

News

August 22nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Bryan Jensen with his biplane "The Beast"

The father of an Atlantic native who died over the weekend while performing aerobatic maneuvers at an air show in Kansas City, Missouri, says his son was fascinated by airplanes ever since he was about 10-years old. As we told you on KJAN.com and during our overnight news casts this weekend, 50-year old Bryan Jensen of Ponte Vedra, Florida, was killed, when the biplane he was flying crashed into the runway at the Wheeler Downtown Airport. The accident happened at around 1:45-p.m., Saturday.

Bryan’s father, Don Jensen, told WHO-TV in Des Moines, his son loved to fly ever since he took his first airplane ride. When Bryan was 13, his father says he found a “learn to fly” coupon in the Atlantic newspaper. He took his first flying lesson for just $5. Bryan got his flying license before his driver’s license. Family friend Gary Degeest told the tv station Bryan would explain what it was it was like to feel the g-forces push him back into the pilot’s seat, and the effect it had on the body.

Bryan had more than 23,000 hours of flight time experience. His website, www.beastairshows.com said that he soloed on his 16th birthday and as an adult flew jumbo jets for Delta Air Lines. Jensen, who graduated from the Atlantic High School in 1979, lived in Florida, and had been a stunt pilot the past 15 years. The accident which claimed his life took place in front of a stunned crowd of thousand, on the first day of the Kansas City Aviation Expo Air Show. Bryan’s girlfriend CC, also flew stunt planes. She had just finished her routine in Kansas City Saturday afternoon, and witnessed the crash.

According to eye-witnesses, Jensen’s custom-built, red biplane was performing aerobatic maneuvers, such as loops and spiral stunts, when it did a downward spiral but failed to pull up. The plane crashed nose-first into the pavement and burst into flames. The Kansas City Star says as the crowd went silent, emergency crews headed for the wreckage, and the show immediately was closed, but the performances resumed on Sunday. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the accident.

Air Show director Ed Noyallis read a brief statement in a hangar after the crash. “Our hearts go out to Bryan’s family and loved ones.” He went on to note that aerobatic flying can be very dangerous, although the public was never in danger. Don Jensen says he wanted his son to be a farmer, but his love of flying was too powerful. Still, he was proud of Bryan’s accomplishments. Funeral services for Bryan Jensen are currently pending at the Hockenberry Family Care Funeral Home, in Atlantic.