Sky feels ’empty’ after Ohio pilot’s death

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Ohio aviation community continues to mourn the death of a billion man who died in a plane crash over the weekend.

Maj. Curtis Rowe was one of six people killed when two historic airplanes crashed during an air show in Dallas, Texas. Rowe, 64, served in the Ohio Wing of the Civil Air Patrol for more than 30 years.

“He was a very compassionate person who had a passion for aviation and wanted to share it with as many people as possible and would really be able to open the eyes of young people to look up and see the vastness of the sky said Lt. Col. Dana Rose of the Ohio Wing Civil Air Patrol Cadet.

Those close to Rowe said his loss was felt not just here in central Ohio, but across the country. There are people in the airline industry today or planning to get into the industry because of him.

During more than 30 years with the Ohio Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, Rowe served in a variety of positions. Those who knew him called him Curt and said he touched thousands of lives.

“He was actually my mentor and supporter because he got my private pilot wings that you see here,” Rose said.

Rose spoke to Rowe about her flight plan before takeoff and spoke to him after landing about how things had gone. She said other cadets are also feeling the heartbreak.

“We’ve talked about stories that we have about him,” Rose said. “I remember flying and just casually hearing him on the radio and thinking, ‘Oh hey, Maj. Rowe. How are you?’ because he always seemed to be there and now that just will never happen again.”

Lt. Col. Steve Jones served with Rowe in the Civil Air Patrol for approximately 25 years. He said Rowe’s impact on the aviation community is immeasurable.

“I know there are dozens of commercial pilots out there, military pilots, people who are defending our country today and are doing so because of his direct contributions,” Jones said.

It wasn’t just the people that Rowe supported during his time on air patrol.

“He lived for that plane,” Jones said. “He’s spent a good chunk of his life supporting this plane and I want people to appreciate that.”

“I know that every time I fly a plane I’ll think of him and how we have this shared feeling of owning the sky together and how empty it feels now to be in the air when he’s not There’s somewhere up there too,’ said Rose.

In addition to Rowe, the Commemorative Air Force, which hosted the show, identified the victims as: Terry Barker, Craig Hutain, Kevin “K5” Michels, Dan Ragan, and Leonard “Len” Root.

The National Transportation Safety Board said investigators are analyzing radar and video footage to determine the exact location of the collision. Debris is carefully examined, along with audio recordings from the air traffic control tower, pilot training records and aircraft maintenance records.

The NTSB said the full investigation is expected to take a year to a year and a half.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.