Aerobatic Pilot Who Escaped Death Returns to Performing Over Vt.

Dan Marcotte was forced to ditch his plane in April due to a major malfunction

More than two months after he was forced to ditch his plane in a fiery wreck, aerobatic pilot Dan Marcotte is scheduled to perform again in Vermont. On April 18, Marcotte parachuted to safety after he said his biplane lost a propeller and suffered catastrophic engine failure. The plane hurtled toward Interstate 89 North in Highgate, narrowly missing vehicle traffic on the ground and erupting into a fireball.

Thursday, Marcotte will perform his choreographed maneuvers over Lake Champlain near the Burlington waterfront. He said he'll fly at about 8:20 p.m. before the city's Independence Day fireworks extravaganza, which is held annually on July 3.

"People were relieved to know that everything worked out ok [after the crash], and then as soon as the relief passed that I was ok, there was lots of concern over, 'When are we going to see you fly again?'" Marcotte told New England Cable News.

Marcotte has a new biplane, the same early 1980s model as the one he lost. It boasts a slick black, white, and yellow paint job, and should be eye-catching in the sky, Marcotte said. It is equipped with a device that emits smoke behind the plane, he added. "It's very practiced," Marcotte said of his routine.

In April, Marcotte's parachute became tangled in a tree after ejecting from the plane. He said the parachute manufacturer, Strong Enterprises, supported him by repairing the gear. "I'm flying with my original parachute because we know it works great," Marcotte said. "We always hope never to use it, but we like to think if we have to, that it functions as advertised."

Maggie Leugers with the Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Department told NECN she was relieved to hear Marcotte was uninjured and was glad his crash didn't cancel his appearance at the July 3 celebration. "He does a fantastic show," Leugers said.

Leugers said tens of thousands of people are hoping for good weather Thursday night for his show. "The only way that he wouldn't do the show is-- we wouldn't do the fireworks either-- if we really had that high wind and lightning," Leugers explained, noting the final call would be made Thursday morning.

Leugers added that the air show meets a rigorous set of safety guidelines, and officials including ones from the U.S. Coast Guard have met to discuss security. "Danny is just so, so safety conscious," Leugers said. "It's done in a very, very safe manner in keeping with all the federal regulations that have to happen."

NECN asked the daredevil if he's nervous getting back into the cockpit after the wreck. He said he's not. "When I'm there, I'm at work," Marcotte explained, saying he is too focused on executing his pre-planned maneuvers to let his mind wander to the past. "When I'm flying my airplane, it's all business."

After the Burlington show, Marcotte is scheduled to appear in Bakersfield, Vermont at 7 p.m. this Saturday, July 5. Marcotte thanked his sponsor, Queen City Steel, in Burlington, for the company's support of his shows, as well as Catto Propellers of California for replacement propellers.

For up-to-the-minute news and weather, be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Contact Us