Since 2003, Dan has performed loops and turns at airshows. But this time, he was flying a brand new plane--his old one was destroyed in a crash on I-89 in April.
"One of the blades had removed itself from the hub," Dan told us at the Franklin County Airport, where he fixes planes as his day job.
During his lunch break, he flies--practicing his routine. We mounted a GoPro on his brand new plane (see the video above), which he put together quickly after the crash.
When his old plane's propeller broke on a flight back from a Florida airshow, Dan had to think fast--executing the "Egress" technique, which is how a pilot ejects him or herself from a plane.
"When you have a catastrophic failure like that, where the decision is made for you...you have no ability to land the airplane, or control it, your mind goes into all the training. Goes into autopilot," Dan said. He showed us the 18-pound parachute he was wearing during the crash.
"I extracted myself from the airplane and pulled my emergency chute at about 700 feet, and safely coasted in a popple tree," he said.
His safety training helped him save his own life. It's not a simple process to get out of a plane when a pilot is so securely strapped in.
"I practice every time that I get in my airplane," Dan explained. "I go through how to remove the canopy, how to remove the seat belts, how to eject myself from the airplane and then pull the rip cord."
He was back in the air within days.
"There's some nervousness that time will heal," he said.
But the intense focus and skill required to fly at 250-mile-an-hour speeds in front of thousands of people makes him forget his nerves.
"I visualize my flight before I take off...and then I fly the routine. Once I'm back in the air...I really enjoy it."
Website: Dan Marcotte Airshows
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