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Pilot Killed in Tennessee Airshow Crash Identified as Fixture in Aviation Community

The pilot who died when his plane crashed during a Tennessee airshow was identified Sunday as a long-time fixture in the aviation community.

Jay "Flash" Gordon was flying his Aero L-39 in the Wings Over Big South Fork Air and Car Show in Oneida Saturday when the jet suddenly took a nose-dive, according to event organizers and witnesses.

Gordon was an "accomplished pilot and long-time supporter of Wings over Big South Fork," air show officials said in a statement.

Organizers of Thunder Over Louisville, a Kentucky airshow, said Gordon’s participation in the event was invaluable.

"He has flown in the Thunder Over Louisville Air Show for many years," said a Thunder Over Louisville statement.

"In recent years, his flying experience and engineering expertise have helped keep Thunder's air show going. His passion for flying and love of Thunder will truly be missed," the statement said.

A witness told NBC News Saturday that the Russian military jet Gordon was flying was in the air for less than two minutes before it went down at about 4:30 p.m.

The National Transportation Safety Board said they were investigating the crash.

The jet, identified as an Aero L-39, seen before the crash at a Tennessee airshow Saturday. Jennifer Culver