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'One of the world’s greatest aviators': Community remembers Hilliard man killed in Dallas air show crash

The aviation industry mourns the loss of the Hilliard man, Curt Rowe, who died in the tragic “Wings Over Dallas” Air Show this weekend.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — David Holden, co-owner of SkyVista Aviation in Marysville says he worked alongside Curt Rowe for over 10 years, and said the entire aviation industry has heavy hearts over the news of Rowe’s passing.

“Curt will be sorely missed here in Ohio both with the Civil Airforce and with the commemorative air patrol with the impact he had,” said Holden. "Curt and I worked closely together to schedule airplanes in for maintenance.”

Rowe had volunteered for the Civil Air Patrol and the Commemorative Air Force for our 30 years.

"A lot of young pilots in this area were impacted by Curt because he was their first introduction to aviation, whether it be an orientation ride with the civil air patrol, or showing them the Commemorative Air Force airplane, or being a glider tow pilot, Curt was very involved with towing gliders that the student pilots were being trained to fly,” said Holden.

One of the young pilots he mentored was Cadet Lieutenant Colonel in the Ohio wings Civil Air Patrol, Dana Rose, who said Rowe was one of the world’s greatest aviators.

“Curt Rowe was a mentor to me in my flying career, he actually is the reason that I have these Pilot Wings right here, I was able to earn my private pilot's license through Civil Air Patrol and through his mentorship, I've gone on a couple of flights with him,” said Rose. “I just learned so much about aircraft control from him.”

Rose said upon graduation she will enter into the airline industry, and would also like to mentor young cadets, taking them on orientation flights, just like Curt did.

The tragic accident comes as crews for the Columbus Air Show prepare for the return of the show for the first time since 2007. Producer Herb Gillen said safety is the number one priority, and he is confident in the team’s preparations over the past four years, taking all safety precautions.

“All our hearts and prayers go out to the pilots and the families that were impacted by this,” said Gillen.

He said it’s moments like this that remind the flight teams to continue following safety procedures and protocols, to maintain a safe environment for the flight crews and those on the ground.

“There are procedures in place that the procedures were established more than six years ago, and since that time, no spectators have been killed at an airshow across North America,” said Gillen.

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels will be headlining and there will be a number of vintage aircrafts throughout the show.

"These are highly choreographed, rehearsed, demonstrations. There's an air boss that's in charge, and they have safety briefings each day before the event,” said Gillen.

The Columbus Air Show will make its debut back to the city June 16-18th.

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