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Sad Fatality - Nancy Lynn

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Beej

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The world renowned aerobatic pilot was in her element last Saturday, wowing hundreds of spectators at an airshow at Culpeper Regional Airport, when her Extra 300L got too close to the ground, flipped over, and burst into flames.

Lynn succumbed to injuries she received in the crash shortly before midnight at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, Va.

The vivacious air show pilot and instructor was a well-known figure on the air show circuit. She was one of a handful of female pilots capable of flying unlimited aerobatics. She and her son, Pete Muntean, 18, were the only mother-son duo in the industry. Muntean served as crew chief for his mother, helping prepare her for shows. He also narrated his mother’s performances over a loudspeaker for audiences.

Tragically, he was explaining his mother’s airshow routine for the audience when she crashed.

Muntean sprinted from the announcer’s stand and was among the first to be at his mother’s side. He shouted “Scramble, scramble,” which means get the fire trucks out.

As he approached the upside down airplane, he could clearly see flames. Culpeper County Regional Airport Manager Frank Bossio, a retired Navy officer and fighter pilot, was burned when he attempted to turn the plane on its side.

Firefighters were able to cut Lynn out of the airplane and put her into an ambulance for treatment. Muntean was able to talk to her before she was transferred to a Medevac.

After the crash site had been cleared, Muntean stoically returned to the microphone to try to calm spectators. “It is bad but she is alive,” he said, “There was a fire and she was burned and I’m sorry that you had to see something so horrific. Even though we give the illusion that this is very dangerous—and it is—we never have the intention of you seeing anyone get hurt.”

Muntean says he vaguely remembers hearing applause before he entered a Navy helicopter that flew him to be at his mother’s side. She died at 11:53 p.m.

Born in Dayton, Oh., Ms. Lynn was a well-known figure in Annapolis and throughout the world for her extraordinary aerobatic piloting abilities and showmanship. In addition to flying aerobatics and teaching pilots aerobatics and how to handle dangerous situations, she was often called upon to speak to groups and businesses using flight as a metaphor for life. Her personal philosophy was that inspiration was her mission, and she regularly talked to children, civic groups, and businesses about the joy of pursuing their passions.

At shows, she would spend hours signing autographs for children, especially young women, whom she encouraged to take an interest in flight. Recently, Ms. Lynn had begun mentoring young female pilots since only about 7% of all pilots are women. In her spare time, Ms. Lynn volunteered regularly with the Hospice of the Chesapeake.

After graduating from Dennison University, Lynn began working with Procter & Gamble. She climbed the ranks rapidly, becoming one of the first women to become a plant manager in the 1980’s. After earning her pilot’s license and discovering her passion for aerobatics, she quit her job and cashed in her pension plan to buy her first aerobatic airplane.

For such a young man, Muntean has certainly seen his share of tragedy. His father, Scott, also a pilot, died in 2000 of brain cancer. And in 2003, his mother’s business partner Mark Damisch was killed when he crashed Lynn’s plane.

Despite the risks involved, Lynn and Muntean had recently begun training to fly aerobatics as a team. As saddened as he is by his mother’s death, Muntean has no intention of giving up flying.

“One of the reasons my mother loved flying so much was because we shared that passion,” says Muntean, currently a student at Anne Arundel Community College, “She did airshows partly for me; we both loved that kind of flying. She taught me to pursue my passion and this is it. It’s important that I keep flying.”

A celebration of Nancy Lynn’s life is being planned at her airplane hangar at Bay Bridge Airport in Stevensville, MD. Details are pending and will be posted on her website, www.lynnaviation.com as soon as they are available.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to The Peter Muntean College Fund c/o Bank Annapolis, 1000 Bestgate Road, Suite 400, Annapolis, MD 21401
 

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