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Beloved aerobatic pilot dies in Madras air show crash


A skilled pilot, Marcus Paine was no stranger to tricks and loops in his 1941 Stearman aerobatic biplane.

“He just was a real aviation enthusiast and a real proficient pilot,” said Don Mobley, performance coordinator for the air show.

But the 61-year-old Anchorage, Alaska resident’s life was cut short Saturday afternoon, in front of a large audience of families and fellow pilots, during the second and final performance of this year’s Air Show of the Cascades at Madras Airport.

“It is with a heavy heart that the Airshow of the Cascades announces the loss of the talented aerobatic performer,” Mobley told reporters.

The loop maneuver Paine was making was one he had done many times successfully, including just the night before on the air show’s opening day.

“He was getting ready to perform the same routine that he’d performed last night for Friday’s sunset show, and in fact that first maneuvers that he was doing was one that he did real successfully,” Mobley said. “So we were surprised that he had the problem on that.”

Many people came out to this year’s air show to see the skills and daring of Paine, as he performed some of his signature aerial moves.

“Lots of people seemed to know who Marcus Paine was, so they were excited to hear he was coming to our air show,” Mobley said.

After the shocking tragedy, Jefferson County Fire and Police as well as Madras police rushed to help Paine.

“Life-saving efforts were administered to the pilot. Unfortunately, these efforts were not successful,” said Jefferson County Fire Captain Jim Brown.

Madras Police Chief Tanner Stanfill said, “We started getting a hold of the pilot’s family as soon as possible to notify them, and talk to them about kind of what happened. And our condolences truly go out to the air community and the family of the deceased pilot.”

Now, while the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board start their investigation, family and fans of Paine are mourning the loss of a man who not only touched the sky, but touched the hearts of aviation enthusiasts everywhere.

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