“Silver Wings of Idaho offers our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Dan Buchanan. Gunfighter Skies lost a dear friend in a tragic accident Saturday as Dan did what he loved, inspiring the crowds of Gun Fighter Skies 2018 at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho. Dan was a long time performer and friend of Silver Wings entertaining and inspiring the crowd for many of our Airshows.
Dan was one of the most popular and inspiring performers in the North American air show community for more than 25 years, Buchanan was a past recipient of both the ICAS Art Scholl Memorial Showmanship Award and the World Airshows News Bill Barber Award for Showmanship. After suffering a spinal injury that paralyzed him from the waist down in 1981, Buchanan returned to college to study mechanical engineering in Silicon Valley, California. Buchanan returned to flying within six months of his accident and flew his first air show in 1989. His air show performances included both day and night aerobatic demonstrations. Throughout his career, Buchanan accrued more than 3,000 hours of flight time in hang gliders and sailplanes.
Our friend will be missed!”
The Performer and Friend
Dan was a New York & Connecticut home builder and flat-track motorcycle racer; then moved to Lake Tahoe, CA where he enjoyed the thrill of flying off mountain tops. He was getting his Private Pilot License when in 1981, he had a spinal injury landing a hang glider in bad weather that he shouldn't have even been flying in. Losing his ability to walk, he returned to college to pursue a career in mechanical engineering, landing him in Silicon Valley, CA.
Despite this new handicap, Dan returned to the thrill of flying within six months, and since then his tenacity and adventurous spirit has allowed him to accrue more than 3,000 hours of flight time in Hang Gliders and Sailplanes. Completing his Private and Commercial Pilot License as a wheelchair user, his motor less recreational flights are typically 3-6 hours long, thermal soaring as high as 18,000 feet over the western deserts and mountains.
After his first air show performance at Medford, OR in 1989, his appearances increased each year, and now he shares his thrill of flight with millions of people around the world during his annual 25+ city Airshow tour, driving 45,000+ miles each summer.
Performing principally across North America, his international venues have included Australia (8 times), Japan, Thailand, El Salvador, The United Arab Emirates, Canada, and Mexico.
Dan is also a Federally (BATF) and State licensed pyrotechnician trained by Hollywood effects pros. He installs, wires and sequences all of the special effects on the fabric wing himself. Can you blame him ??
He is also a Commercial Glider pilot, enjoying sailplane aerobatics and giving glider rides to friends at Minden, Nevada when not on the Airshow tour. Dan owes Sailplaning to "Sky Sailing" in Warner Springs, CA, whose school has one of the few "hand control" equipped sailplanes in the US. Get more information about these sailplanes visit www.skysailing.com.
Some of his other adventurous passions include high speed long distance desert riding and racing on ATV's, flat-water river kayaking and SCUBA diving on wrecks and in caves.
An Incredable Man and an Incredible Performer who Inspired so many of us ...
Dan Buchanan will be Dearly Missed by All !!!