Pilot in runway celebration flyover dies in plane crash

A man presumed to be the pilot of a 1979 Nanchang CJ-6A single-engine aircraft was found dead on Saturday, June 15 in the Santa Susana Mountains, about two miles north of Porter Ranch. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Fire Department

One of the pilots who flew among six identical airplanes in a celebration flyover of the new runway at the Airport in the Sky in May, died on June 15, in a crash near Porter Ranch.

Daniel “Dawg” Delane was the only occupant of the same 1966 Nanchang CJ6A he was flying during the Ace Clearwater Field runway opening celebration on May 3. Delane owned the vintage plane and was part of the Tiger Squadron, a formation flying and aircraft display team based out of Torrance Airport. Delane, 66, was a resident of San Pedro who had flown both commercial and military planes for much of his life.

He had amassed more than 10,000 hours of flight, according to his bio on the Tiger Squadron website. His career began in the USAF, where he flew T-37, T-38, F-15 and F-5E planes. He was an Aggressor instructor at Nellis AFB and would later fly jets for Fed Ex, among other companies.

In 2013, he was interviewed by Peninsula Seniors for a video presentation, prior to the Tiger Squadron’s performance at an Armed Forces Day event. Delane explained the features of the plane, which he said was a very common training plane for foreign militaries, as the the cockpit layout was nearly identical to the MiG fighter jets.

While the basic planes were usually painted an olive color, Delane’s had been painted blue, with decorations meant to honor the World War II generation. It has a large star on the side and red-white-and blue stripes.

“I’m very lucky to be able to put it on display for this Armed Forces Day,” Delane said in the interview.

He also joked that the painting on the side, also modeled after WWII-style tributes was a picture of his wife, holding a bomb. Delane was married to his wife, Lori Vincent Delane for 28 years. He was also survived by his sons Chase, Max and Michael, grandson Louis and his brothers John, Mark and sister Chris Huhs, according to an obituary in the Daily Breeze in Torrance.

After his active duty in the Air Force, he entered the Georgia Air National Guard, eventually retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1996. Delane was also and avid cycler and sailor, who participate in the Newport to Ensenada boat race on several occasions. A memorial service was scheduled for today in Rancho Palos Verdes.