Idaho crash grounds pilot set to fly Breckenridge July Fourth |

Idaho crash grounds pilot set to fly Breckenridge July Fourth

Caddie Nath
summit daily news

Buck Roetman and Gary Rower were set to attempt to break the record for the highest air shows ever to be performed over land and water this Fourth of July.

But an untimely plane crash in Idaho broke Roetman’s plane and nearly his ankle first, so the record will have to wait.

A still-undetermined mechanical malfunction caused Roetman to lose control of his plane during practice for the Legacy Air Show in Rexburg in Idaho earlier this month. He and Rower were set to perform formation aerobatics above 10,000 feet in Breckenridge and Dillon as part of the towns’ Fourth of July festivities next month.

Rower said the show will go on, but he will be flying solo.

Roetman suffered only minor injuries in the crash, but neither he nor his plane will be ready to perform by the Fourth.

“Buck won’t be in a position to fly,” said Rower, of Breckenridge. “His airplane … can’t be repaired that quickly.”

Roetman will take over instead as a ground safety observer while his fellow pilot replaces their team performance with individual tricks.

The performance will start with a flyover by pilot Scott McMillan in a Yak 52, a Russian trainer plane, followed by the appearance of a Korean War vintage T-28, an Air Force plane, flown by pilot Todd McLaughlin.

Then, now-headliner Rower will take over with the aerobatics show.

“It will still be a record,” Rower said. “Nobody’s ever done a show this high into the High Country.”

The planes will take off and land at the airport in Leadville, the closest feasible location to get the aircrafts off the ground.

Roetman, of Sharpsburg, Ga., crashed on a golf course just before 8:30 p.m. June 15 during an informal preview to the Legacy Air Show, the local news sources reported.

Video shows his small, double-wing stunt plane spiraling in an arc, spewing dark smoke. Roetman sprained his ankle, but was otherwise unharmed.

“I apologize to the golfers for the divot I left,” he told the Standard Journal soon after the crash.

Authorities are still investigating the crash.

Though their hopes for a formation record have been dashed this year, Roetman and Rower are already planning for next year.

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