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Atlantic native dies in Kansas Air Show Crash


August 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Bryan Jensen, with his custom biplane

An Atlantic native with more than 23,000 hours of flight time experience, died over the weekend at an air show in Kansas City, Missouri. 50-year old Bryan Jensen, of Ponte Vedra, FL.,  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.

Jensen grew up on a farm near Atlantic, and took his first flying lesson when he was 13, according to his website www.beastairshows.com The website says 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 thousands, on the first day of the Kansas City Aviation Expo Air Show.

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. 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. Air show officials said they spoke with other pilots after the crash and all agreed the show would continue today (Sunday). Funeral services for Bryan Jensen are currently pending at the Hockenberry Family Care Funeral Home, in Atlantic. (www.hockenberryfamilycare.com)