**Monetary Donations to help offset Jason's medical expenses can be mailed to: The Jason Flood Foundation, 51 Waterfront Way Hammonton, NJ 08037
** T-Shirts and Wristbands for sale- contact Joe Flood (856)498-2209 or at Flyingflood@yahoo.com
Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 8:30 pm
Jason Flood is considered a conscientious pilot.
On the ground, he has been known to inspect his red-and-white Pitts Special competition plane repeatedly before taking off. In the air, he executed precise movements that only created the illusion of danger for spectators nationwide.
Friends and fellow aviators say Flood, who is in critical condition after the plane he was piloting crashed Tuesday, grew up around airplanes, but he is not a daredevil. Having grown up surrounded by adults who shared his singular passion, Flood was an “old soul” at 20, said David Crescenzo, a Hammonton pilot.
“From what I’ve known of him, he’s not a risk taker. He’s not your typical kid out partying — he hangs around a bunch of adults and flies in his spare time,” Crescenzo said. “As with anything, aerobatics is not a forgiving sport and he respects that. He doesn’t take any shortcuts.”
But on Tuesday afternoon, as he was attempting to pick up a banner from a grassy airfield off Steelmanville Road, police say Flood, of Franklin Township, lost control or had a mechanical problem with the single-engine plane he was piloting. It crashed in an area of dense brush about 3 p.m.
After emergency crews spent 40 minutes trying to free Flood from the wreckage, using the “Jaws of Life,” he was flown to AtlantiCare Regional Medicare Center, City Campus. A spokesperson for Cooper University Medical Center, where he was transported Wednesday morning, said he was listed in critical condition.
As news spread in advance of this weekend’s Kathy Jaffe Challenge — where Flood was set to compete against more than 35 veteran pilots — his friends and admirers gathered at the Hammonton Municipal Airport. The challenge is named for a Maplewood pilot who died in a 1999 accident.
Flood’s father, Joseph, owns Jenny Aviation, an airplane-restoration and repair shop adjacent to the airport in Hammonton. Crescenzo said Jason Flood, who was born into a family of aviators, is an instinctive pilot, who exhibited a “true knack and gift for flying airplanes.”
“I think everyone in that family flies, but Jason was the most passionate and most talented of all of them,” he said.
Crescenzo said Jason Flood finished second in the International Aerobatic Club’s northeast regional competitions last year and placed on the national leader board. Flood has been a regular on the air show circuit since the age of 18, performing breath-taking aerial stunts while he was still a student at Delsea Regional High School.
“He was very well-groomed for what he did and very conscious about safety,” Schultz said. “I didn’t worry about him when he flew. Other pilots in show business, I might have, but I didn’t with him.”
When most pilots would check something three times, Schultz said Flood could be counted on to check it a fourth time.
Bill Finnigan, an Annapolis, Md.-based flight instructor, trained Flood for more than three years and signed off on his first “low-level waiver,” an annual certification through the International Council of Air Shows and the FAA for air show pilots. That process includes an extensive oral test and flight evaluation, he said.
“He was probably one of the most outstanding young pilots I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been doing this over 40 years,” said Finnigan. “It’s a tragic loss to see him injured like this.”
Crescenzo said Flood has been interested in aviation since his childhood, when his father would take him to the airport to pilot radio-controlled airplanes. Flood was involved with his father’s airplane restoration business from the time he was 12, and at 16, he took his first solo flight, Crescenzo said.
He said Flood received a Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarship in 2009 to study aviation at Mercer County Community College. Flood hopes to be a commercial pilot in some capacity, he said.
“If it has wings and a propeller, that’s what he wants to do,” he said.
Outside of school, Crescenzo said Flood works part-time refueling planes at local airports and, this year, took up flying banners for a friend’s new business. All of Flood’s spare time, he said, is spent practicing for air shows and competitions.
“So he’s involved in aviation even when he’s not in aviation,” he said.
Since word of Flood’s accident got out, Crescenzo said the IAC has received an outpouring of phone and e-mail messages in support of the young pilot.
Jason suffered multiple broken bones and internal injuries in the crash and he will require multiple surgeries.
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Aug 2, 2012 9:27pmHello to all that are still following Jason. I know it's has been sometime since I have written in this journal, Not sure if you all realized that today marks 1 year of Jason horrific accident, the day our family was torn apart. I can't believe what we all have been through this past year, it is so difficult to look back and think where we were 1 year ago. I thank God and of of You out there who prayed for Jason and our family, and that continue to support us. Without our faith, family and friends I do not know were we would be. Don't get me wrong there are still days we struggle and try to make sense of all of this. Jason has come a long way, back at the end of June Jason participated in his 1st come back contest, in Wildwood, N.J. He was determined to fly and I think prove to himself, that he could still compete. It was the one of the most hardest things we watched, He flew his 1st flight, and then his second, and he was wiped out, he still has problems standing and sitting, walking etc. Thank god for one of his friends that had a blow up mattress, and that is were he was. Laying down and knowing he had one more flight, possible that same day, Jason almost pulled himself out. Knowing his limits, He ended 2nd after his 1st flight and 1st after his 2nd flight and after his 3rd flight the next day, he ended up in 2nd place. Jason worked so hard to get what he has gotten back. We are so proud of him. Joe and Jason have just gotten back from Oshkosh were they flew for the 1st time on a airliner, Jason knowing he would have never made it flying himself like he had done many times before. AirVenture asked Jason to come and speak to many others about his ordeal, Jason knowing his flying abilities and God had saved his life. In two week at South Jersey Regional Airport in Medford, Jason will fly again, in another contest, if all is well and he is feeling strong. and At the end of the month at New Garden airport in PA his return to the airshow cir. If you would like to follow him and read all the articles that have been written follow him at Jasonfloodairshows.com. Well with out me getting all choked up again, I would like to thank Steve the fireman for his text today and letting me know that Jason and our family is still with him and his group of men, He said it all that We are truly blessed, and he is so right. Things may never be the same again and I am working on dealing with this and I know it is going to take a long time, but having my family is everything to me. If I could lessen the burden for Jason I would take it in a heart beat. I love him and all my child so very much. Who said parenting was a breeze. Love to all The Floods
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