Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Editorial - Opinion: Air show not about a crash - Interstate S-1A-65F Cadet, N37361, Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada

Editorial - Opinion

The 2012 Wetaskiwin Air Show should not be remembered for a plane crashing on the first day. 

The emergency landing by aerobatic pilot Kent Pietsch in his 1942 Interstate Cadet did not happen during the show.

He was not performing stunts in his airplane for the delight of the crowd when he hit the ground.

According to Transport Canada officials, Pietsch was out flying, looking for the pieces of his plane that had fallen off as part of his comedy routine earlier in the afternoon.

While the plane might have sustained major damage, Pietsch was lucky to walk away from the crash with only a broken nose, a few missing teeth and minor abrasions.

But there were a few tense moments for spectators when the plane first hit the field at the end of the runway at the Wetaskiwin Regional Airport.

Fire trucks, ambulance, and police vehicles responded to the scene from across the city, giving the appearance that the incident was more serious than it was, fatal even.

But that’s not what the air show should be remembered for.

And don’t blame the media for “sensationalizing” the crash. We can only report on what happens as we know the facts.

While most print and television journalists were on or past their daily deadlines, no one from the air show, emergency services or airport authority were speaking publicly about the crash. All that was known was that a crash had occurred and the pilot was sent to hospital with undetermined injuries. A quick response from officials could have prevented assumptions and false rumours that circulated following the incident.

What the 2012 edition of the bi-annual Wetaskiwin Air Show should be remembered for is the hard work all the volunteers put in to bring the two-day event to thousands of people who passed through the gates Saturday and Sunday at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum.

What people might not know, is that compared to years past, this year’s air show was completely organized by volunteers. There was no paid person put in charge of organizing and running the show.

A dedicated group of volunteers put their best efforts in to give aviation enthusiasts and every day air show fans alike the best show they could with the resources they had. And they should be commended for that.

It can be easy to pay someone to put a show of this scale together but it can be even more of a challenge to get people to give up their own time on their own dollar to help bring something like this to fruition.

With some minor hiccups with show timing and getting people to the venue the air show really has no where to go but up from here. If organizers and the Air Show Society are willing to put in the time and effort it will truly take to make the next one even better.

That’s what the air show should be remembered for.

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