Friday, February 15, 2008

Pilots fly to express sorrow

Six low-flying aircraft honor Mark Hutchison

Express Staff Writer

Those six small single-engine aircraft that flew low over Ketchum and dipped their wings Thursday were local pilots saying goodbye to one of their own, Mark Hutchison, 62, who died last week of a heart attack and was memorialized during services at the Big Wood Presbyterian Church.

The low-flying aircraft touched off several calls to Friedman Memorial Airport.

However, airport manager Rick Baird said that when he explained what reportedly was a fly-by for Hutchison, the callers seemed to understand. The fly-by tribute has become a local custom among pilots, Baird said.

Baird said he did not know whether the pilots violated any altitude rules—500 feet over sparsely populated areas, 1,000 feet minimum altitude over heavily populated areas.

Hutchison, a longtime valley resident, died Saturday morning in Boise after suffering a heart attack Friday night at the Sun Valley ice rink, where he had been playing hockey.

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