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Carroll lost one of its most colorful and best-known figures when Jack B. Poage was killed in a plane crash Sept. 23 while performing a stunt at an air show in Baltimore County's Martin State Airport.

Poage, 62, died when his red and white 1989 Pitts S-2B biplane crashed after he apparently decided to add a fourth spin to a three-spin diving stunt and was unable to pull out of the dive.

Thousands of spectators witnessed the accident on a clear, calm day.

Officials closed the show following the accident.

After Poage was pulled from the wreckage of his plane, he was transported to Franklin Square Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Poage, an aviator for most of his life, excelled not only in flying, but also as an instructor and examiner.

Poage also will be remembered for his management skills in transforming what was once known as Westminster Airport -- a small facility with one dirt runway -- into Carroll County Airport, which can accommodate corporate jets.

He and his wife, June, managed the airport since 1979 under the name of Westair Inc.

"He was a key figure in the commercial success of the airport," said former County Commissioner Jeff Griffith. "A significant part of the growth there is a reflection of his and his wife's business skills and making customers want to come back."

He and his wife also were instrumental in bringing the Sky Spectacular 1989 and 1990 air shows to the Westminster air facility, where thousands of spectators watched Poage and others perform a variety of aerial stunts.

Just three weeks before his death, Poage entertained spectators with his flying stunts at the Sky Spectacular 1990.

A month after the crash, a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board found no evidence of mechanical malfunction in the accident.

A final report is not expected until February at the earliest.

At the urgings of people who wanted to recognize Poage's contribution to county aviation, at the end of October, the commissioners renamed the airport the Carroll County Regional Airport/Jack B. Poage Field.

"This is quite a tribute to Jack, who gave to this place seven days a week for the past 11 years," his wife said. "I couldn't be more pleased.

"And Jack is right over there on the hill, at Krider's Church Cemetery, watching over all the expansion here."

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