July 3rd means a jam-packed day in the Queen City. And the fun heats up as the night goes on. Fireworks won’t be the only attraction lighting up the sky Sunday night.
From free-falls to blazing speeds through the sky, Dan Marcotte is ready to fly.
Before Dan Marcotte can be thousands of feet in the air climbing higher and higher, entertaining a crowd of thousands, he needs to put in some work. “I really get a calibrated feel for what’s normal on the airplane. Everything that might seem out of place needs to be investigated before you go any farther,” said Marcotte, as he ran his hands over his Ultimate 10-200 Biplane.
On a rainy, thunder filled night, Airshow Pilot Dan Marcotte got his 200 horsepower vehicle ready for his upcoming July 3rd Waterfront show. Inside of a hanger at the Franklin County State Airport in Swanton, Marcotte checked over his plane, making sure his craft was ready to handle everything he’s set to throw at it. He’s practiced his routine for months now, confident *YOU* will enjoy the show! “It’s coupled with real high energy, lots of high speed passes, lots of maneuvers that go from a high speed to no speed, to flying backwards,” he said, his love and passion for flying and entertaining evident in the way he meticulously cares for his plane.
Dan’s been flying since the early 2000’s. His love of speed led him to the sky, “It’s just a three-dimensional dance. It’s just fun that you can display something in all the axis,” said Marcotte, showing off the quick-reaction controls the trick plane is equipped with.
“You get in a nice rhythm where all those checks are working simultaneously, and the muscle memory kicks in and the routine just flows,” explained Marcotte. He says the hours and hours of practice and preparation are key to a successful show, but once in the air, he finds the perfect balance of recklessly abandon, matched with cutting precision.
But don’t mistake Dan for a stunt pilot. “Most airshow pilots never really like to hear their routine referred to as stunts. A stunt kind of sounds like something that’s unpracticed and random,” he said.
To some the hours of cleaning and maintenance may seem boring. For Marcotte, it’s a chance to calm his nerves, and focus on the free-falls and high speeds he’s bringing to Burlington’s Waterfront. “My airplanes have always taken on a personality. They become a really close friend. You wind up really having to count on them,” he said.
Much like a professional athlete, airshow days are all based on routine for Marcotte. He gets up at a specific time, eats a light meal, and gets in the necessary stretching for a physically grueling show. At the hangar he runs through a point-to-point inspection of his plane, check each nut and bolt, and every moving part.
Thousand of hours of practice and preparation come down to one moment. “I look off to my right and I see thousands of people. I see lot of people taking pictures, waving. I can imagine the cheers in my head, it’s a lot of fun,” said Marcotte.
Dan will be flying through the sky over the Burlington Waterfront Sunday night, July 3rd. His performance should start right around 8:30.
He’s also part of the upcoming Wings over Vermont Airshow in August.
Click the link to lean more about Dan Marcotte.