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It's safety first at Stuart Air Show, executive says

Safety top of mind after Dallas incident
Posted at 5:04 PM, Nov 13, 2022

STUART, Fla. — The tragedy at a Dallas air show, where six people died, has shaken the air show community.

Officials at the Stuart Air Show told WPTV on Sunday they are confident in their safety protocols, which they said they go through every morning before anyone takes flight.

"At the end of the day, we want to have a safe aircraft," Dewey Vinaya, vice president of the Stuart Air Show, said. "People are just amazed they fly, so it's our job to make sure they fly safely."

Vinaya jumped out of planes at the airshow for many years. He personally knows the value of safety and never takes it lightly.

"Everything is based off just the foundation of safety," Vinaya said. "When I was a jumper, when we got ready to jump, I would always talk about the jump, everything from climbing up to altitude, or equipment checks, what I'm looking for on the ground, clearing that airspace, getting that communication of hot target, and then exiting the aircraft."

On Sunday, about 25 planes performed in the Stuart Air Show.

Vinaya said, in addition to years of experience and being certified to do aerobatics, each of the pilots and planes is evaluated extensively throughout the day.

"The biggest thing is they all look after each other to make sure that not only is the paperwork good, but that their mental mindset going into the day — because things happen — their mental mindset is ready to fly," he said.

Sometimes that means a change of plans.

"Every day we're talking about any changes — performers (who) can't fly today, (who) can't fly tomorrow, additions that open up that we had to bring somebody in," he added.