Danny Sorenson is an air show pilot based in Bountiful, Utah. In addition to being an aerobat, he has designed aircraft. He is featured in the “Meet the Mormons” series of stand-alone vignettes, which debuted on February 10, 2018, in Church visitors’ centers and historic sites.
When Sorenson was young, he would ask his father to teach him how to make his toy model airplane do aerobatic tricks. As a young man, he sold a car his brother gave him for $100 so he could take flying lessons. From there he began building aircraft, including modifying an airplane with friend and film pilot Craig Hosking by putting wheels on the top of the plane as well as the bottom so it could take off or land from either upside down or right side up. They called the plane “Double Take.”
His passion for flight took a backseat to his career as a firefighter, husband, and father. But when he retired from the Salt Lake City Fire Department, he picked up his career in flight again.
In May 2018, Sorenson was flying from Longmont, Colorado, to Evanston, Wyoming, when his handcrafted plane started to lose power. He decided to land the craft on 1-80. News reports indicate he nearly made it but just before he touched down he clipped the top of a semi-truck, causing his biplane to flip and crash on the side of the interstate highway. He and the driver of the semi walked away unharmed. (The semi-truck sustained damage to the sleeper section of the cab.) Sorenson’s plane, “Unfinished Business,” carried the same registration number that was on the airplane in which Danny learned to fly.
It took Sorenson fourteen years to design and build the plane, and according to a KSL-TV report, the fact that Sorenson survived the crash is a testament to how well the plane was designed and crafted.
He and his wife, Allyn, are the parents of five children, one of whom was diagnosed with cancer at age four. She survived and is featured in the Meet the Mormons vignette.