Air show pilot dies in crash at Smith-Hondo Fall Fair

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

One of two pilots putting on a show for people at the Smith Fall Fair and Rodeo crashed on Aug. 31. RCMP Confirmed that it happened about 12:30 p.m., but did not release the name. However, it is believed to be Martin Pendrak, whose obituary appears on Page 10 of this week’s Leader.

One spectator said the plane had come in low over the arena, peeled off to the east and then appeared to lose power and go steeply down. Another heard a thump just after the plane went out of sight beyond the trees.

According to Slave Lake RCMP Staff Sgt. John Spaans, the crash site was near Ranch Road, in the trees. He said it took emergency crews about half an hour to find it.

The plane appeared to have been heading back in the direction of the fairgrounds when it crashed, Spaans said. He added investigators were hoping to see video of the plane that might have been taken by attendees of the fair.

Transportation Safety Board investigators were expected to visit the crash site on the next day, Sept. 1.

The two pilots providing the aerial entertainment were from Barry Pendrak Air Show of Hondo.

According to an article in the online magazine Occupational Safety, the plane that crashed was a “Chinese-built military training aircraft.” It is identified in the article as a Nanchang CJ-6.

One of the planes in the air show, photographed a few minutes before the fatal crash.

Share this post

Post Comment