Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

crosswind

"Galloping Ghost" crashes at Reno Air Races

Recommended Posts

as per CNN [updated 8:43 p.m. ET] Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are on the scene in Reno, Nevada, where a plane crashed Friday in front of a grandstand at the National Championship Air Races and Air Show, a spokesman for the show said.Members of the National Guard, which were on-site for the show, are also assisting in the response, air show spokesman Mike Draper said.[updated 8:41 p.m. ET] "There are people still being escorted out of that area with various injuries," a spokesman for a Nevada air show said early Friday evening, shortly after a P-51 plane crashed in front of a grandstand.Mike Draper said he's been told there are "likely fatalities" but it has not been determined who they may be, nor whether the pilot of the "Galloping Ghost" aircraft that went down survived.[updated 8:39 p.m. ET] There are "mass casualties" at an air show after a plane crashed Friday into an area in front of a grandstand at the National Championship Air Races and Air Show in Reno, Nevada, a spokesman for the air show told CNN.In video posted on YouTube, emergency responders could be seen assisting spectators at the show, though it was not immediately clear how many were injured. CNN could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the video.Witnesses told CNN affiliate KTVN that the plane was about 400-500 feet in the air when it nosedived and crashed

Share this post


Link to post
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

Just heard about it via the BBC World Service. Deep Sympathies to all concerned.

Share this post


Link to post

I hope this doesn't lead to stricter regulations in regards to spectator viewing. I watched the Red Bull Air Race in NYC and it was amazing to be so close to these planes whipping through the course. That's part of the experience for me. Risk included.

Share this post


Link to post

It's been suggested before and doubtless will be up for discussion again following this incident, but of course anyone who has ever been to an airshow knows that the ticket has a big disclaimer on the back with regard to the risk of such incidents. What may also be brought up however, is the age of the pilots racing at Reno, some of whom are very much older than the age at which one is forced to retire from flying airliners and such. Al

Share this post


Link to post
It's been suggested before and doubtless will be up for discussion again following this incident, but of course anyone who has ever been to an airshow knows that the ticket has a big disclaimer on the back with regard to the risk of such incidents. What may also be brought up however, is the age of the pilots racing at Reno, some of whom are very much older than the age at which one is forced to retire from flying airliners and such. Al
I was just in Reno 3 days ago and almost delayed my trip back to go to the races-this is simply tragic. As far as age-it is all relative. I know a ww2 pilot who is pushing 90 who still flys who would put a lot of 50 years olds to shame in health and mental facilities. No matter-simply tragic and like all air accidents one needs to wait until the facts are out.

Share this post


Link to post

True enough, although with the severity of the impact and the fact that such aircraft don't carry FDRs like an airliner is equipped with, we may simply never know what happened. Al

Share this post


Link to post

I used to go sailing with one of Rare Bear's crew members. I pray for all the victims. The future of the Reno Air Races is not bright at this moment.

Share this post


Link to post

They do not seem to have a great track record at this event. From Wikipedia

Over the course of the sport's 49-year history, there have been a total of 19 deaths due to crashes and collisions in the course of competition and airshow.[1] In 2007, two pilots died over the course of four days in separate incidents. One pilot died after show hours due to an engine failure shortly after take off (Gary Hubler, Steve Dari, & Brad Morehouse),[2] prompting the temporary suspension of the event.[3] Races were resumed on Saturday after various safety meetings.[4]
On this occasion the youtube videos show an almost vertical plunge into some spectators, scary.

Share this post


Link to post
It's been suggested before and doubtless will be up for discussion again following this incident, but of course anyone who has ever been to an airshow knows that the ticket has a big disclaimer on the back with regard to the risk of such incidents. What may also be brought up however, is the age of the pilots racing at Reno, some of whom are very much older than the age at which one is forced to retire from flying airliners and such.
While a tragic accident, likely some politician will use the event to champion legislation in the name of "keeping us safe", resulting in a huge revamp with regards to FAA regulations concerning proximity of spectators to aerobatic demonstrations/racing events. The medical angle isn't something I thought of though. The pilot held a Class 2 medical which was 18 months old. I could see the FAA requiring Class 1 medicals with even tighter recency requirements if performing at events with spectators in close proximity.. Who knows what the FAA and some politician will come up with as part of a knee-jerk reaction. RIP to those that were killed.

Share this post


Link to post

Those who know Jimmy say he was a great pilot. He did very well last year and was fast again this year. The pilots who race there understand the risks, but they enjoy doing it. Please keep in mind that the media is going to speculate along with the public and the amount of misinformation out there already is pretty disheartning.. Please don't add to it here. People really need to just let the professionals handle it to find out what went wrong and come to the conclusions. I have been sick to my stomach since the news came out tonight and have actually shut off the TV because the last video had me break down. I feel bad for the families affected by this event. I was out there yesterday to watch the Thunderbirds and planned to go back Sat/Sun. I have gone to this event for the past 20+ years and I can assure you the people who run it, as well as the pilots that participate in it are a class act.

Share this post


Link to post

I don't think anyone here doubts the skill of the pilots and the dedication of the organisers, we all know accidents happen, even really bad ones like this. But far from not discussing it, we should do, since in doing that we thrash out the arguments that are no doubt coming our way as pilots, and will as a result be ready for them. More importantly, ready to refute any ill-thought out 'instant solutions' that tend to get forced through as legislation at times like these, usually from people who will be only to happy to see us stuck for a plausible reply because we've not got around to thinking about it all and discussing it. I'm sure those of us who've been flying for real for some time will confirm that we've all known someone who has either been killed or injured in an air accident, sadly in my case, quite a lot, since unfortunately, mid air collisions in gliders are not that rare. If one is around aeroplanes long enough, it is inevitable you'll come across something like that. But clamming up about it does no good, that I do know, since I've seen a lot of ill will and blame fester in silence around flying clubs when such incidents occur, to the extent that it starts dividing flyers, and the one thing we can guarantee is that we'll not prevent knee-jerk legislation going through by being divided and quiet on the matter. Al

Share this post


Link to post

Very very sad indeed, The pilot will of been struggling like mad to get as far away from the crowd as possible, my heart goes out to all involved.

Share this post


Link to post

I believe Al is correct, Jeff. We all understand you're intentions are sincere when you ask us not to add to the plethora of misinformation that inevitably surrounds a tragedy such as this. We also can feel the pain emanating from your words. All of us offer our condolences and support to you and to those good folks most directly affected. The inevitable discussions that are generated by a tragedy such as this and that take place among folks with similar interests are necessary and, many times, therapeutic. We certainly all join together in praying for the swift recovery of those injured as we offer our hearts to those families who must now bear the grief of serendipitous and tragic loss.

Share this post


Link to post

Trim tab was missing on the aircraft in the final seconds. Control problems. Mayday was called. These were mechanical issues, and I wish everyone wouldn't kneejerk about someone's age. Gotta be in very top condition to fly these beasts and he was.

Share this post


Link to post
Trim tab was missing on the aircraft in the final seconds. Control problems. Mayday was called. These were mechanical issues, and I wish everyone wouldn't kneejerk about someone's age. Gotta be in very top condition to fly these beasts and he was.
Just saw the clip of the trim tab failure and have to consider the loss at that airspeed as a contributing factor....Broken%20Heart.gif

Share this post


Link to post

I imagine the age of the pilot was less likely to be a factor than the age of the plane. Anybody know how old it was? Obviously it wouldn't be flying without a certificate, but metal fatigue can be a sly and lethal killer in aviation. The only Red Bull race I've watched was on TV, flown along the Thames in London a few years back. There the contestants flew timed circuits individually. Do they race in groups in the States? Is it like Formula 1 up in the air? It isn't something I take much interest in, I have to say. My condolences to all the bereaved, of course, and best hopes for the injured.

Share this post


Link to post

Condolences to the pilot´s family and all the other victims.

I hope this doesn't lead to stricter regulations in regards to spectator viewing. I watched the Red Bull Air Race in NYC and it was amazing to be so close to these planes whipping through the course. That's part of the experience for me. Risk included.
Well, here in Germay airshows and such things are completely forbidden after one thragic airshow accident at ramstein airbase some year´s back. So we don´t have any air force display team like the Blue Angels. Somehow badly, cause things have changed till then.

Share this post


Link to post
I believe Al is correct, Jeff. We all understand you're intentions are sincere when you ask us not to add to the plethora of misinformation that inevitably surrounds a tragedy such as this. We also can feel the pain emanating from your words. All of us offer our condolences and support to you and to those good folks most directly affected. The inevitable discussions that are generated by a tragedy such as this and that take place among folks with similar interests are necessary and, many times, therapeutic. We certainly all join together in praying for the swift recovery of those injured as we offer our hearts to those families who must now bear the grief of serendipitous and tragic loss.
Thanks Jo... I understand the therapeutic nature discussions can bring and I wasn't trying to direct anything to any one person, just to everyone as whole. I have an emotional attachment to the event itself, as I look forward to it each year and with the people you tend to meet at the event from all over the world. My thoughts and prayers go out to Jimmy Leeward's family, RARA, the spectator's families, and to those affected directly and indirectly by the crash. I would also like to thank those involved with the first response yesterday, including the 100 or so bystandards that helped with administering CPR and other activities to help those directly after the crash.

Share this post


Link to post
I imagine the age of the pilot was less likely to be a factor than the age of the plane. Anybody know how old it was? Obviously it wouldn't be flying without a certificate, but metal fatigue can be a sly and lethal killer in aviation. The only Red Bull race I've watched was on TV, flown along the Thames in London a few years back. There the contestants flew timed circuits individually. Do they race in groups in the States? Is it like Formula 1 up in the air? It isn't something I take much interest in, I have to say. My condolences to all the bereaved, of course, and best hopes for the injured.
They do race in groups of 6 to 8 depending on the class of aircraft. It is like F1 in the air in some respects. The crash yesterday happened during a heat race to set up the final grid races for the weekend events. The aircraft vary in age that are usually flying there, but are well maintained. The pilots are highly skilled and go through pylon seminars, medical checks, and other safety related measures leading up to each event every year. Mechanical failure is the most common cause of the accidents at the races. The stresses the aircraft endure during this event, especially with the Unlimited class, push the envelope just like any other motorsport event. RARA has been at the forefront to keep safety its highest priority during this event. They have moved the front stretch of the course back away from the the crowd a couple of times since I have been attending the event and rounded out the corners of the course to help with the aircraft stresses. This year they even disqualified a handful of Jet class aircraft at the event because of safety concerns with an engine modification.

Share this post


Link to post

It's looking (from the evidence pictures provide), that the port elevator trim tab busted off (not completely, it was still attached), caused the pitch up, blacked the pilot out, and it went in as a result of all that. One presumes from the fact that Jimmy Leeward apparently got on the radio about the fault, that it was not a coronary or anything like that, although ultimately it is likely it will have been a physiological problem that has led to the loss of control owing to the high G the failure will have generated. It's occurred before, with another P-51 at Reno (Voodoo Chile if I recall correctly, might be wrong on that), same port trim tab failure and same pitch up, although on that occasion, the aircraft zoom climbed and the pilot recovered and managed a safe landing, on that occasion luck being good rather than bad. Age considerations aside even though that will doubtless have been a factor, pretty much anyone is going to black out in a rapid pitch up like that (I start feeling dodgy at 6G, most people go out at 8G, and it will have been nearer 10G looking at the accident footage), and it is then down to luck whether the controls move into a favourable or unfavourable position to allow the pilot time to regain conciousness. Anyone who has ever been to a race knows this kind of thing happens on occasion and that is never going to change, it's just the way high performance racing is and always has been, and the risk includes spectators too of course, most of whom are aware that is the case and accept it as the racers do. It is nevertheless very sad when it occurs, but hopefully it will not lead to any sort of mandates to prevent racing from continuing, as life would indeed be longer if that happened, but it would also be considerably less worth living. Al

Share this post


Link to post
Anyone who has ever been to a race knows this kind of thing happens on occasion and that is never going to change, it's just the way high performance racing is and always has been, and the risk includes spectators too of course, most of whom are aware that is the case and accept it as the racers do. It is nevertheless very sad when it occurs, but hopefully it will not lead to any sort of mandates to prevent racing from continuing, as life would indeed be longer if that happened, but it would also be considerably less worth living.
I agree with this 110%

Share this post


Link to post
, but of course anyone who has ever been to an airshow knows that the ticket has a big disclaimer on the back with regard to the risk of such incidents
In the UK such a disclaimer can't by law apply to death or personal injury. They are also legally dubious because, someone who who attends can't "sign-away" other pwople's rights - if a husband is killed it can't prevent his wife and family suing. Also, iof it only appears on the back of the ticket it's ineffective.

Share this post


Link to post

That's true, but you don't need to be an aerodynamicist, or even an aeroplane enthusiast, to know that when you go to an airshow or race where aeroplanes are doing anything other than sitting on the ground, there is a possibility that one of those aeroplanes will have an accident, since we all know that accidents happen, and those of us who go to airshows will in fact have seen them happen, I know I have, and grim it was. Since we also know that when that occurs, there is a likelihood that an out of control aeroplane won't come down in a conveniently empty field, by definition, we make a choice to put ourself at greater risk when going through the gate to that airfield, and that is our choice. The only time it would be really arguable is if we took someone along who did not have the mental capacity to decide upon that choice for themselves, such as a child, or someone with a mental disability, and even then it would to a large extent, be the responsibility of the person who took them, just as it would be if you grabbed their hand and ran across a busy road with them. My wife is no aeroplane enthusiast, but I'm sure she is aware that whenever we go to an airfield, there is an attendant risk in doing so, especially since she knows that once or twice I have come home from a day's flying and told her that there was a fatality, once with her even having heard it on the radio and been concerned that it might have involved me before I walked in the house. She knows that flying can be unforgiving sometimes, as does everyone else. Al

Share this post


Link to post