Cincinnati man dies in air show accident in Virginia
BRANDY STATION, Va. (WKRC) - A Cincinnati man is dead after an air show accident on Friday night in Virginia, according to Virginia State Police.
Jon S. Thocker was piloting a plane during an aerobatic act in the night portion of the Culpeper Air Fest in Brandy Station, Virginia, when the plane crashed in a field at around 8:10 p.m.
Thocker was operating an RVA Homebuilt aircraft and conducting aerodynamic maneuvers for the air show, which took place at the Culpeper Regional Airport.
Dianna Lantz-Power has spent many years at air shows and says she and Thocker were friends. She said he always impressed her on the ground, interacting with people at the shows.
"Jon would literally get down on the level of children and talk to them about goals, their future, about aviation, about why they're there," Lantz-Power said. "This man, he meant so much to our air show world."
Thocker and Ken Rieder run Redline Airshows together, where they've been performing for 12 years. Their hangars are in Butler County and that's where Kayley Wolf-Raskin learned to fly with some help and support from Thocker.
"He was there to support me as I got my pilot's license," Wolf-Raskin said. "Before flights, I would stop by his hangar, so I’ll never forget that. He was always there to calm me down."
Wolf-Raskin says Thocker and her father are friends and that the two families would go on father-daughter trips across the country in planes that Thocker built.
Wolf-Raskin says she saw Thocker earlier this year at a show and was amazed at how large his presence was at the shows. However, she says she'll always remember what he did back home in Butler County.
"He really made that airport, he made that community, he is that community, he is Butler County Regional Airport, VansAirFoce, that is Jon Thocker," Wolf-Raskin said.
The incident remains under investigation by the Virginia State Police, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.