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Big Crash at Reno

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Big Crash at Reno

Old 17th Sep 2011, 00:26
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Unhappy Big Crash at Reno

Very bad news, looks like a P 51 went in, in the pits/grandstand area.

More here

Plane crashes into crowd at Reno air races - US news - Life - msnbc.com




Last edited by buggaluggs; 17th Sep 2011 at 00:37.
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Old 17th Sep 2011, 00:35
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Seems the Pilot was 80 yo. Now to me that seems a tad elderly to be racing a P51 at 500 kts Low level pulling god knows how many G with the public close by.
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Old 17th Sep 2011, 00:36
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The appears to have impacted the ramp area in front of the pits just about where I've typically watched the races from for 15 out of the last 20 race years. A friend of mine introduced me to Jimmy Leeward a few years ago and he seemed very young at heart and spirit. We spent a while at his pit box listening to amusing stories and watching his crew prepare the airplane for the next race. I had no idea he was in his 70s at that time. He was flying a different Mustang at that time.

I've been present for several "big crashes" at Reno and I'm not sorry I missed seeing this one.
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Old 17th Sep 2011, 00:54
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It's bad. BBC relaying unconfirmed reports of 12 dead, 25 critical injuries.
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Old 17th Sep 2011, 01:19
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If you look at some of the other YouTube Videos, you'll see the aircraft did a zoom climb rolled and dived into the ground. It was clearly not under control from the start of the zoom climb.

I don't race aircraft, but I do race vintage cars - another sport where lots of old guys go to have fun.

Last weekend, there was a fatality at a vintage race at Watkins Glen - the car simply went straight on at full speed, whereas the track turned right. There was no attempt to turn the corner.

Increasingly, it is becoming clear that many accidents such as this are caused by the driver having a heart attack and simply not being in control of the car. That's what happened at the Glen, and that looks awfully like what happened at Reno with the Mustang.
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Old 17th Sep 2011, 01:25
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Looks like OD has this accident all figured out. Guess the NTSB can go home.
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Old 17th Sep 2011, 01:51
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Tw itter has some links to 40 + minute video showing the crash & aftermath. There was a comment claiming to be from a relative of a pilot in that race saying a trim tab had failed. There seems to reports of aprox 40 dead.

I don't think sick, 'witty' comments have any place in the thread at this point.


#renocrash

News reports claim the pilot was (check the link if you are interested):
Update: Renown says two confirmed dead in air races crash; pilot was stunt pilot for movies | Reno Gazette-Journal | rgj.com


CBS Live Feed: CBSNews livefeed
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Old 17th Sep 2011, 02:02
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Mayday

CNN is reporting the pilot "sent a Mayday" before "pulling out of the lap" and then going in. I can't figure out how to post a link with my iPad that I'm using now, but at the moment it's right up front on CNN.com - Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News.

There's also a BBC report saying 3 dead at this point. It looks bad indeed. Given the current administration, this could well mean the end of air shows in the US. Let's hope it doesn't turn that Draconian.
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Old 17th Sep 2011, 03:11
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A good friend and fellow pilot just called - he was 50 feet from the impact. He saw a dozen or more dead bodies. His description of what he saw is staggering.
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Old 17th Sep 2011, 03:20
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While there are air races with 50 and 60 year old combat aircraft being flown to their extreme limits by very elderly pilots, for the benefit of willing viewers, there will be fatalities.

Perhaps the only thing that will change is when an aircraft plunges into the centre of the watching crowd and the fatalities are in the hundreds. That will probably result in some tightening of rules, and perhaps smaller amounts of spectators at the next show.

The dreadful disasters at Farnborough in 1952 and Ramstein in 1988 have done little to quench the appetite of those who are prepared to risk their lives, to watch pilots risk their lives.
One really has to question, at what point, antique, rare and valuable ex-combat aircraft, will be stopped from performing extreme stunts in front of crowds.

No doubt the lawyers will be slavering over this one... or is there an all-encompassing "out", in the Air Race entrance conditions on the ticket?
I'll wager no air show watcher ever reads the fine print that says "air show watching is a hazardous occupation, and the promoters accept no responsibility for death or injury of patrons".

List of airshow accidents and incidents - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 17th Sep 2011, 03:32
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Jimmy Leeward was 74, not 80. He was an experienced race pilot and movie pilot. The NTSB will be onsite in the morning.

I think we can agree that any form of racing is dangerous, and air racing is no exception. I would venture a guess that more spectators have been injured or killed in auto racing than with air racing. Note that this is the first case of spectators being hurt at the Reno Championship Air Races.

Condolences to Jimmy Leeward's family and friends and for the injured and killed in today's tragic accident.
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Old 17th Sep 2011, 05:01
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74 years old, you gotta be joking. I've flown with 70 year olds and they need spoon feeding.
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Old 17th Sep 2011, 06:00
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Let's please show some respect here. Jimmy Leeward was one of Reno's best.
The Galloping Ghost was an extraordinary aircraft. Notably because of its extremely short 'clipped' wings and absence of the familiar P-51 cooling scoop.
If she lost an elevator tab as is suspected, it's unlikely a younger, less experienced pilot would have made any difference to the outcome.
Personally, I'm grateful there have been people in the world like Jimmy Leeward who have had the courage and means to live their lives at high speed. They demonstrate to people like me and Skol that not everybody has to live mundane, pathetic little lives.
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Old 17th Sep 2011, 06:47
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Everyone is entitled to take risk in their lives, we knowingly and mostly without being aware of it at all measure & take risks everyday. Of course air shows / races should be as safe as possible...but it isn't possible to have no risk. As awful as it is those that race and spectate at races are taking risk but it is the excitement from that risk that makes us feel alive.

Any crash at a show inevitably brings comment about old 'planes and old pilots and a call to end such shows (making life just a bit more dull) yet the same outcry doesn't follow a road crash nor does the same outcry stop governments stop unpopular wars or such.

Just proving that humans exhibit some strange vagaries when it comes to risk & freedom of choice I guess.
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Old 17th Sep 2011, 07:29
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I was directly below the P51 when it pulled up went inverted and dove into the ground. I thought it was going to hit our section of the stands but it hit 300 ft away. My wife had just left a box in front of the stands 15 minutes prior to join me in the stands that was 100 ft from the impact point. A few of my friends were injured slightly that stayed in the box but had blood and flesh on their clothing from the people who took a direct strike. I was in a war in Vietnam and never experienced the shock of seeing my friends covered with blood and in one case flesh on his clothing. It was going over 500 mph when it went in at an 80 degree angle. We have been coming to Reno for the Air Races 12 years straight but have a bad feeling this is it.

I hope I am wrong on the races being over. It is our favorite annual activity. I saw the whole thing and it looked like a mechanical problem, not a pilot one. I personally know a lot of the unlimited racers. One was the kid I soloed on his 16th birthday in the 70's. The other, Steve Hinton, took me on two P51 rides in the same time period when I was putting him through an instrument pilot course.
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Old 17th Sep 2011, 07:29
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Galloping Ghost

I am here at Reno and can tell those of you speculating about what happened this afternoon that the NTSB will investigate the incident and will in due course publish their findings.
The mood here is sombre but nobody who knows anything about airplanes is offering opinions about what went wrong/happened/caused the crash. There is a message there to those who will insist on airing their opinions on PPRuNe.
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Old 17th Sep 2011, 07:48
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http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=2e9_1316224603
&

http://i.imgur.com/XPKil.jpg
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Old 17th Sep 2011, 08:25
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Kalium's link isn't showing up for me, but I assume it is similar to this one I've found.


I'm rather saddened to see some of the rubbish being said about old pilots. It is most unfortunate accident.
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Old 17th Sep 2011, 08:29
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I'm no expert. I'd be surprised to learn that a failure like that would result in such a catastophic loss of control, some difficulty perhaps, but total loss of control is not what I would have expected.
A very sad event on many levels.
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Old 17th Sep 2011, 08:36
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Oh no. What an awful thing to happen.

Anyone who is speculating on causes at this time is at best an idiot. Pipe down and keep your uninformed opinions to yourselves.

This crash will likely have some serious repercussions for Reno and air racing and air shows in general. Lets hope that no kneejerk restrictions get imposed, but that any lessons that are there to be learned get implemented.

A horrible accident and my heart goes out to all involved.
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