LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - He took to the skies at Thunder Over Louisville for many years but died Saturday during a performance in Tennessee.

Jay 'Flash' Gordon was taking part in the Wings Over Big South Fork Air Show in Oneida, Tennessee when his plane crashed.  

"I looked over and I saw him," said one witness. "He was going just kind of in a nose dive. First didn't think anything about it 'cause I figured he would pull up and come on and then a few seconds later we saw a puff of smoke."  

The air show confirms on its website that Gordon didn't survive. 

The flag in front of the Aero Club of Louisville was at half-staff Sunday afternoon. 

We're told Gordon was a member there and kept his plane at Bowman Field. 

"His best time was spent in the air and he loved it and for it to end this tragic, it's just hard for everybody," said Wayne Hettinger, who produces Thunder Over Louisville and has known Gordon for more than two decades. 

"When you do that reflect back, he was the one guy, I don't care what was going on, it was that 'Jay smile' that came to the room and pulled us through a lot," he told WDRB News. 

Hettinger says Gordon was not only a skilled pilot but that he was also crucial behind the scenes, lending his engineering expertise to any technical problems. 

He was also a family man and always wanted to give back to the community. 

Irreplaceable to many, including the Thunder Over Louisville family. 

"It's gonna leave a hole at Thunder and I'm sure were gonna come together as a group because he won't be forgotten," Hettinger said. 

Federal authorities are still investigating what caused the crash in Tennessee. 

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