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Night Airshow Accident Takes Life of Redline Airshows' Jon Thocker

Culpeper Air Fest Event Accident Occurred After 2000 ET

The airshow industry finds itself in the unwelcome, but familiar, role of mourning another pilot whose life was lost while performing an airshow routine... this time, at the Culpeper Air Fest in Brandy Station, VA.

A night performance, accompanied with pyrotechnic displays, was underway with the two ship team of Jon Thocker and Ken Rieder were flying just after 8 PM, Local Time. For as yet unknown reasons, Thocker's RV-8 went down midway through the performance with fatal result.

Air Fest officials posted a short statement to social media following the accident, "During the night portion of the Culpeper Air Fest an aerobatic act experienced an accident. Emergency services that were onsite were dispatched immediately and are currently at work on the scene. It is too early to release any specific details at this time as there is an ongoing investigation. The educational portion of the Culpeper Air Fest for tomorrow morning will continue as planned, and as we get more details on the investigation we will make decisions on the remaining portions of the airshow. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved and we will update you as soon as we have further information."

The airshow did go on, as scheduled, Saturday.

The Redline dual airshow formation act was building serious fans and had traveled extensively -- having "been to the Dominican Republic, Acapulco Mexico, all the way to Alaska and just about everywhere in between." Thocker's online bio notes that he, "...retired from a 25 year career as an airline captain flying heavy jets in worldwide cargo service to pursue a lifelong passion for building and flying experimental aircraft. Jon is a licensed A&P mechanic and owns and operates Redline, LLC, a company specializing in state of the art avionics installations and experimental aircraft builder assistance."



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