Officials at Selfridge Air National Guard Base are working with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Traffic Safety Board to investigate Sunday's fatal accident during the in Harrison Township, MI.
During an acrobatic aircraft performance about 1:30 p.m. Sunday, civilian performer Todd Green fell nearly 200 feet while attempting to transfer from a fixed-wing aircraft to a helicopter. He from his injuries.
"The entire Selfridge family joins together in mourning the death of Mr. Green. Our hearts reach out to those who are impacted by this tragedy, including his family, friends and our many visitors who witnessed this tragic event," said Col. Michael Thomas, 127th Wing commander at Selfridge, in a release. "As Airmen, we understand the inherent risks associated with flight, but we aviators are a close-knit family, and when a tragedy like this occurs we all share in the loss."
Green, 48 of Ann Arbor, was walking on the wing of a Stearman biplane flown by John Mohr and attempting to transfer to a helicopter flown by Roger Buis at the time of the incident. He had successfully completed the maneuver during the air show on Saturday in similar weather conditions.
After he fell, the Selfridge Fire Department, 127th Security Forces, MedStar Ambulance and Michigan State Police responded to the accident scene.
Approximately one hour after Green fell, a limited flying schedule resumed after consultation with the FAA, senior military leaders at the show and several of the air show performers.
The decision to resume flying was made because there was no additional safety risk to the pilots or to those spectators who were visiting the air show, base officials said.
Green's death was the first incident at a Selfridge Air Show since 1994, when a privately-owned T-33 aircraft crashed on the base while performing. Ray Mabrey, a civilian pilot, was killed in that incident.
The Selfridge Air Show is held every two years and is tentatively scheduled for 2013, according to base officials, but that date will be reviewed based on military mission requirements and the latest information on safety considerations.
Readers commented on Patch and other social media sites, sharing their grief and words of support for Green's family.
"I was there on Saturday with my dad, watching something I never thought possible, for a person to go from plane to hilocopter (sic) mid-air. I thought about it all day," Scott Hawkins wrote on Patch. "Then on Sunday ... As I was at work, my dad texted me that the wing walker from the airshow, had fallen 200 ft to his death. Even though I didn't and still dint (sic) know Todd personally, I couldn't help but to cry. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family."