Stunt plane crashes at Idaho air show; pilot survives

REXBURG, Idaho — A small red stunt plane crashed into a nearby golf course Friday evening during an eastern Idaho air show preview but officials said the pilot suffered only minor injuries.

The annual Legacy Air Show in Rexburg attracts stunt pilots and vintage aircraft from around the country. The Friday evening preview was supposed to be a casual affair with sponsors and guests lined up along the runway.

Pilot Buck Roetman of Sharpsburg, Ga., appeared to have a broken ankle and some other, minor injuries, air show official Brad DeBow told the Standard Journal ( ).

Roetman rode away from the crash site on an ATV and was put into an ambulance. He could be seen sitting up and smiling as medics cared for him. He was taken to Madison Memorial Hospital.

After the plane lost power, Roetman aimed for a clear spot on the edge of the Rexburg Municipal Golf Course, just east of the city’s airport, DeBow said.

“He did some skillful maneuvering to put it down in a safe spot,” the official said.

Witnesses said the Christen Eagle stunt plane was doing a series of rolls when it dropped from the sky and disappeared into a group of trees.

The plane was seriously damaged but came to rest in an upright position with the landing gear collapsed beneath the aircraft.

The cause of the crash was under investigation. Federal Aviation Administration officials were on scene and the National Transportation Safety Board was being notified.

In January, an FAA official said it’s unlikely there will be significant changes to air show and air race safety rules despite a September 2011 accident that killed 11 people, including a Marysville man.

John McGraw, the FAA’s deputy director of flight standards service, told an NTSB public hearing that the agency is reviewing its safety rules in response to the accident at an air race in Reno, Nev. A souped-up World War II warbird crashed in front of VIP boxes, sending debris into the crowd. Besides the fatalities, about 70 people were injured.

If the FAA becomes aware “of a risk that exceeds the boundary of what we think is acceptable, we will make those changes. But not currently,” McGraw said.

The agency said it did expect to make some changes to clarify its existing safety regulations.

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