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17 September 2011

Three confirmed dead in Reno Air Races crash

Image: Ward Howes

The 2011 Reno Air Races crash was the crash of a P-51D Mustang at the Reno Stead Airport, on 16 September 2011, during the Reno Air Races that killed at least 3 people, including the pilot, and injured at least 56.

The crash took place at the 2011 Reno Air Races at Reno Stead Airport. The pilot, 74 year-old James K. "Jimmy" Leeward, had completed a lap of the race before sending out a mayday signal, followed by pulling out of the race, before plummeting the aircraft at a steep angle into the crowded stands. The accident was caught on video that was posted on YouTube and later released by several news organizations. In the video, it can be seen that the plane crashed nose down in front of the grand stand.

The Mustang, named "Galloping Ghost", had a long history of successful competition in air races dating back to the National Air Races from 1946 to 1949 in Cleveland. It was flown by a series of pilots under a variety of names, including “Miss Candace” from 1969 to 1978 and "Jeannie" in 1981. On September 18, 1970, the airplane crashed after an engine failure during an air show at Reno Stead Airport and landed short of the runway, with only minor injuries to the pilot.

The weekend's remaining races were cancelled following the accident.

- Wikipedia