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Decathlon Down During Aerobatic Recertification Flight

Military Flight Instructor Fatally Injured In Ohio Accident

A military flight instructor who had recently returned from duty with his National Guard unit in Iraq was fatally injured Thursday when the 2004 Decathlon (similar airplane pictured) he was flying went down in a harvested cornfield near Marysville, OH. Michael Scott Lakin, 42, was reportedly in the process of obtaining his aerobatic recertification -- which, according to the general media sources, sounds like he was working on an ACE (Aerobatic Competency Evaluation) requalification -- when the accident occurred.

Television station WCMH reports that the Union County airport (KMRT) manager was talking to the examiner and watching Lakin perform at the time of the accident. "It was not a pleasant afternoon," Ed Rusch said.

Lakin had been the personal pilot for US Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) when the legislator had served as Governor of that state. “Gayle and I were so saddened to hear today about Mike's tragic death," Manchin said in a statement. "Mike was so proud to serve his country and the state of West Virginia, and I am so grateful for his service. While no words can give comfort, our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and entire family during this difficult time.”

KMRT is reportedly home to several aerobatic pilots, and they often practice in the area where the accident occurred. Thursday's accident was thought to be the first involving an aerobatic plane at the airport.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov, FAA Aerobatic Certification, www.icashq.org

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