Accident Reportedly Not Part Of Weekend Airshow Performance
A well-known and highly-experienced member of the airshow community is recovering from an accident in his 1942 "Jelly Belly" Interstate Cadet.
Airshow Pilot Kent Pietsch is reported in stable condition following a 1700 (local time) Saturday accident that occurred during the first day of a weekend airshow in which he was listed as a featured performer. Wetaskiwin is some 70 km South of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
According to local media reports, Kent had finished a performance at the show when the accident occurred in which the aircraft flew close to the ground in a bank, struck a wingtip, and thereafter impacted just off the runway. Some reports indicate that a power failure may have led to the accident. A crewmember for another performer flying at the show, Jack Sim, is reported in local media as stating that, “He tacked in to land, the wing hit the wheat field, ripped the wing off, spun around, he hit the dash. He got wounded. He got out of the plane (and) wandered around it and laid down in the field.”
The Jelly Belly aircraft is a popular sight at a number of North American shows. Kent Pietsch uses the 1942 Interstate Cadet as part of a comedy act, "which includes extreme maneuvers, such as the aileron falling off in mid air!"
Kent is also well-known for a dead stick (power off) aerobatic routine that starts at an altitude of 6,000 feet, with the finale of this performance concluding with Pietsch landing in front of the crowd and coming to a stop while placing the spinner into the hand of an individual.
Pietsch hails from Minot, North Dakota, and has been a consistent presence on the airshow circuit, as well as a member of a highly regarded airshow family. Flying since 1973, Pietsch's online bio notes that he has performed in more than 400 airshows. Kent reportedly soloed at 16 years old, in 1967, and went on to enjoy an aviation career that included air charter, air ambulance, ag work, and flight instruction. He started flying Airshows in 1974 and also enjoyed a career that spanned some 29 years with Northwest Airlines.