Disabled Airshow Hang Glider Pilot Dies Performing in Idaho

Dan Buchanan, a paraplegic, was an inspiration to many.

disabled airshow hang glider pilot
Buchanan was an inspiration to thousands of other disabled veteransDan Buchanan website photo

Dan Buchanan, a wheelchair-bound air show hang glider pilot, died at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho on Saturday when something went wrong during his performance, according to local news sources.

UPI and KIVI-TV reported witnesses seeing Buchanan’s hang glider diving toward the ground while releasing a cable after completing a maneuver with another aircraft.

The 366th Fighter Wing tweeted that Buchanan was airlifted to a local hospital after the crash, where he later died due to his injuries.

The 366th Fighter Wing, which is based at Mountain Home Air Force Base, later followed up about the accident. “The air show will continue tomorrow in honor of our dear friend Dan Buchanan, and all the support he has provided for our air shows. There will be a tribute to Dan and an opportunity to memorialize him at the show,” the statement said..

According to his website, Buchanan was in the process of earning his Private Pilot license when he injured himself in a hang gliding accident in 1981, causing him to lose his ability to walk. He returned to flying nonetheless, and earned his private and commercial licenses. He accumulated more than 3,000 hours in hang gliders and sailplanes. He became a regular air show performer, and was licensed as a pyrotechnician, which allowed him to organize the special effects for his performances. Additionally, Buchanan partook in ATV racing, flat-water river kayaking and scuba diving.

Buchanan’s career spanned 36 years, according to the 366th.