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Author Topic: Scores injured in Reno air race crash 9/16/11 (11 Fatalities)  (Read 6402 times)
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cw618
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« on: September 16, 2011, 09:46:28 PM »

Official: Scores injured in Reno air race crash
By The Reno Gazette-Journal
 ::snipping2::
RENO —At least 30 people were seriously injured after a plane crashed into the crowd Friday at the Reno National Championship Air Races, officials said.
Tara Trovato, spokeswoman for the Reno National Championship Air Races, confirmed an aircraft crashed into the VIP box seats at the races. She said it did not go into the grandstands.
 ::snipping2::
There were 30 serious and 30 intermediate injuries, according to Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez.
Mike Draper, a spokesman for the Reno air races, described the situation as a "mass casualty event." Draper could not provide specific numbers but said emergency protocol is being followed.
He said the pilot of the crashed aircraft is Jimmy Leeward, piloting the Galloping Ghost, a P-51 Mustang. He could provide no information about the pilot's condition.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2011-09-16/plane-crash-Reno/50436272/1

the only vid out so far of the crash
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stv5d79aP7A
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzvro_u73xM
Edit to add fatalities to subject line.  MB
« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 12:32:02 PM by MuffyBee » Logged

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cw618
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2011, 09:51:03 PM »

more update

3 Including Pilot Dead After Crash at Air Races
Posted: Sep 16, 2011 7:34 PM EDT Updated: Sep 16, 2011 9:38 PM EDT

video/story update

 ::snipping2::
Kellene Stockwell

Channel 2 News

Authorities say race pilot Jimmy Leeward has died after a crash at the Reno Air Races. This weekend's races are also canceled.
Three people are confirmed dead, and another 21 people were admitted to Renown Regional Medical Center

Concerned family members should call 775.972.6663 and Air Race staff is working to locate and establish the status of all involved.
http://www.ktvn.com/story/15483678/plane-crash-at-air-races-at-reno-stead-airport


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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2011, 10:17:44 PM »

http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/09/16/nevada.plane.crash/
'Mass casualties' reported after plane crashes at Nevada air show
September 16, 2011

Reno, Nevada (CNN) -- "Mass casualties" were reported at an air show after a plane crashed Friday into the box seat area in front of a grandstand at the National Championship Air Races and Air Show in Reno, Nevada, a spokesman for the show told CNN.

Mike Draper said he's been told there are "likely fatalities," but it has not been determined how many or who they may be.

The pilot, identified as Jimmy Leeward, a real estate developer from Ocala, Florida, was likely killed in the crash, the show said in a statement. He was flying a P-51 Mustang.

A Reno, Nevada, hospital said Friday evening on its website that it had received a "total of 21 patients" after the plane crashed. "No further patients are expected at this time," the Renown Regional Medical Center reported at 5:45 p.m. PT. The conditions of those patients were not released.
 ::snipping2::
The plane, called the "Galloping Ghost," was taking part in a qualifying round in the "unlimited class" division of the air race when it went down around 4:15 p.m. PT Friday, Draper said. The final rounds had been slated for the weekend.

The aircraft was about a lap into the race when the pilot sent out a "Mayday signal" and pulled "out of the lap" before crashing into a box seat area that is in front of a grandstand at the "very large race field," located about 15 miles north of Reno, Draper said.

"It was clear that (the plane) was pulling up and was in distress," he said.

He added that authorities do not yet know why the aircraft went down.

Besides the Federal Aviation Administration personnel already there to assist the National Transportation Safety Board in any investigation, the show's spokesman said that National Guard members -- who were on-site practicing before the incident -- are helping emergency personnel to clear the area.
 ::snipping2::
Video at Link
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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2011, 10:23:09 PM »

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/09/16/national/main20107634.shtml
Reno air race crash: At least 3 dead
September 16, 2011


Jimmy Leeward, owner of the Leeward Air Ranch Racing Team and a well-known racing pilot, died during a crash at a Reno. Nev., air race show Sept. 16, 2011.
(Credit: Leeward/Facebook)

CBS/AP)

RENO, Nevada - A World War II era fighter plane plunged into the grandstands Friday during a popular annual air show, injuring at least 75 spectators and leaving a horrific scene of bodies and wreckage. The plane's pilot and at least two others were confirmed dead. An air race official said more deaths are likely.

A spokesperson at the Renown Regional Medical Center said that 22 people were admitted there and that two had died. Nine others were in critical condition and 11 in fair condition.

Reno Air Races President and CEO Mike Houghton said at a news conference that pilot Jimmy Leeward of Ocala, Fla., died in the crash Friday after apparently losing control of the aircraft.

Leeward owned the Leeward Air Ranch Racing Team and was a well-known racing pilot. His website says he had flown more than 120 races and served as a stunt pilot for numerous movies, including "Amelia" and "Cloud Dancer."
 ::snipping2::
Leeward died when the P-51 Mustang he was flying crashed into a box seat area at the front of the grandstands at the National Championship Air Races at about 4:30 p.m.

Initial reports indicated that the plane crashed directly into the spectator stands. But CBS affiliate KTVN Reno reported that the plane hit a group of tables stretching out from the grandstands. Witness reports and spectator video from the scene seemed to confirm that version of events.
 ::snipping2::
Stephanie Kruse, a spokeswoman for the Regional Emergency Medical Service Authority, said 25 people were critically injured and another 25 people were seriously hurt in the crash. More than 25 more people were treated for minor injuries, she said.

Kruse said the critically injured were considered to have life-threatening injuries.

"This is a very large incident, probably one of the largest this community has seen in decades," Kruse told The Associated Press. "The community is pulling together to try to deal with the scope of it. The hospitals have certainly geared up and staffed up to deal with it."
 ::snipping2::
Another witness, Ronald Sargis, said he was sitting in the box seat area near the finish line when the crash occurred.

"We could see the plane coming around the far turn — it was in trouble," Sargis told KCRA-TV in Sacramento. "About six or seven boxes down from us, it impacted into the front row."

He said the pilot seemed to do everything he could to avoid crashing into the crowd. Response teams immediately went to work, Sargis said.

"They put out a call for any medically trained or police trained personnel to come and help. Within about two minutes the ambulance crews were loading people up and transporting them away."
 ::snipping2::
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« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2011, 10:41:11 AM »

Air Race Pilot Dies; At Least 2 Spectators Dead
Posted: Sep 16, 2011 7:34 PM EDT Updated: Sep 17, 2011 2:44 AM EDT
Kellene Stockwell
Channel 2 News
updated video

 ::snipping2::
A total of 27 people were admitted to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno - 12 in critical condition, 13 in fair and a man and woman died after leaving the Air Races.
 
Saint Mary's Regional Medical Center received 25 patients. Of those, 4 are listed in critical condition, 6 are in serious condition and 15 are in fair condition
 
And Northern Nevada Medical Center says they currently have three patients in good condition. Five patients were treated and released.
 
Houghton didn't have an exact number of spectators who attended Friday's event, but said during a live press conference that 'it was a good Friday.'
 
When asked if this will be the last year for the air races, Houghton said it's still too early to make that kind of decision. The races bring in about $85 million every year to the local economy.
 
Those wishing to check on the status of loved ones should call 775.337.5800 or locally dialing 211.
http://www.ktvn.com/story/15483678/pilot-dies-in-crash-at-air-races?redirected=true

 ::snipping2::
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. This has been a horrific accident. We also have to let Nevadans know; let the nation know about the quality of the emergency personnel that have been involved today. It was a -- a flawless reaction to what happened. The fire personnel; the air race personnel the law enforcement -- everybody from county and local level came together and did everything they -- they needed to do."
 
Sandoval urged community members to donate blood for victims starting tomorrow morning at United Blood Services.
 
UBS centers are located at:
1125 Terminal Way, Reno
4670 Sparks Boulevard, Sparks
256 E. Winnie Lane, Carson City
 
Hours are:
 
Saturday and Sunday/8am-5pm
Monday/8am-6pm
 
O negative is the blood type most desired but all blood types are needed..
The Summit Christian Church at 7075 Pyramid Way in Sparks is also holding a blood drive this weekend Saturday: 4pm – 7:45 pm & Sunday: 8am – 1:30 pm. To sign up just go to http://unitedbloodservices.org/. They will also accept walk ins this weekend.
http://www.ktvn.com/story/15483678/pilot-dies-in-crash-at-air-races?redirected=true
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« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2011, 10:42:09 AM »



A Pictures Says a Thousand Words

http://www.kolotv.com/home/headlines/A_Pictures_Says_a_Thousand_Words_130007898.html
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« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2011, 11:33:47 AM »

I went to bed thinking about the Reno air crash.  I'm sending up prayers for the victims and their families.  Although there are deaths and injuries, it appears it could have been much worse if there had been fire and I'm glad at least that didn't happen. 

an angelic monkey an angelic monkey an angelic monkey an angelic monkey an angelic monkey an angelic monkey an angelic monkey


A traditional pilot's poem for Jimmy Leward, who died yesterday in his P51 Mustang

High Flight
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

   Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
No 412 squadron, RCAF
Killed 11 December 1941
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« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2011, 11:46:02 AM »

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/09/17/earlyshow/saturday/main20107692.shtml
"Nothing" being ruled out in Reno crash probe
September 17, 2011

CBS News)

A National Transportation Safety Board team will head up the investigation of the crash of a vintage plane at an air race in Reno, Nevada Friday that killed the pilot and at least two people in the stands and left dozens injured, several critically.

And, says Mark Rosenker, a CBS News consultant on aviation safety and a former NTSB chairman, "Nothing will be off the table when this investigation begins. Clearly, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. Now, what we have, though, is video from a number of sources, a number of still pictures, and the ability, perhaps, even to have some tapes (of) conversations between the tower, the controllers, and the pilot himself."
September 17, 2011 8:42 AM


A National Transportation Safety Board team will head up the investigation of the crash of a vintage plane at an air race in Reno, Nevada Friday that killed the pilot and at least two people in the stands and left dozens injured, several critically.

And, says Mark Rosenker, a CBS News consultant on aviation safety and a former NTSB chairman, "Nothing will be off the table when this investigation begins. Clearly, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. Now, what we have, though, is video from a number of sources, a number of still pictures, and the ability, perhaps, even to have some tapes (of) conversations between the tower, the controllers, and the pilot himself."

Asked by "Early Show on Saturday Morning" co-anchor Rebecca Jarvis whether the fact that the P51-Mustang plunged to the ground nose-first offers any clues, Rosenker replied, "A number of things could have gone wrong, either operationally -- it could have had a high-speed stall, he could have had some parts that may have failed - (or) he may have had a medical condition. Nothing will be off the table when the board begins its investigation."
 ::snipping2::
"They will be documenting the scene," Rosenker responded. "They'll be talking to witnesses. They'll be gathering up the (aircraft) parts. They'll be trying to find records of the aircraft, maintenance records. They will be getting the medical records and the flight certifications of the pilot. Everything will be brought together in Washington for a very meticulous and thorough investigation."
 ::snipping2::
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« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2011, 02:12:08 PM »

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/nationnow/2011/09/reno-air-crash-injured.html
Some injured in Reno air show crash are released from hospital
September 17, 2011

Many of those injured in the crash at the National Championship Air Races in Reno improved enough to be discharged from local hospitals on Saturday, according to hospital officials.

Renown Regional Medical Center, the region’s main trauma facility, discharged 14 of the 30 patients who were admitted Friday night after a vintage World War II fighter plane crashed into the stands.
More...
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« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2011, 02:15:24 PM »

http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/09/17/nevada.plane.crash/
'I was ... preparing to die,' witness at Nevada air race crash says
September 17, 2011
Video at Link
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« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2011, 02:23:40 PM »

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2011-09-17/Reno-air-race-crash/50445398/1
NTSB on scene of Nevada air crash
September 17, 2011


RENO (AP) – Federal investigators on Saturday began looking into what caused a 74-year-old pilot to lose control of his World War II-era plane and crash next to a VIP section at a Reno air race in an accident that killed at least three people and sent dozens to the hospital.
National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Terry Williams told the Associated Press Saturday that a team has arrived from Washington to join regional officials. He said it's too early to say what caused the crash, though event organizers suggested a mechanical problem.

As thousands watched in horror, the P-51 Mustang suddenly pitched upward, rolled and nose-dived toward the crowded grandstand. It then slammed into the tarmac and blew to pieces in front the pilot's family and a tight-knit group of friends who attend the annual event.
It appears that other than the pilot, the injuries and deaths were caused by flying parts of the disintegrating plane — not a direct hit.

"It came down directly at us. As I looked down, I saw the spinner, the wings, the canopy just coming right at us. It hit directly in front of us, probably 50 to 75 feet," Ryan Harris, of Round Mountain, Nev., told the AP.

"The next thing I saw was a wall of debris going up in the air. That's what I got splashed with. In the wall of debris noticed there were pieces of flesh."

Besides veteran Hollywood stunt pilot Jimmy Leeward, two spectators were killed and more than 50 were injured amid a horrific scene strewn with smoking debris.

Left in its wake were bloodied bodies spread across the area as people tended to the victims and ambulances rushed to the scene. Video of the aftermath shows a man with his leg severed at the knee.

Video and photos of the crash were captured by several people in the stands, and the horrific images of the wreckage were transmitted around the world within minutes.

John Townes, a Reno pilot, said the plane didn't sound right.

"It wasn't quite vertical. It was at a very slight angle and because of that I think it probably saved a lot of people," he said.

"Normally when you see an air crash, you see recognizable wreckage. There was nothing, just little bits of metal."
 ::snipping2::
Tim O'Brien of Grass Valley, Calif., who is chairman of an air show in his hometown, was photographing Friday's races when the crash occurred.

He said the P-51 Mustang was racing six other planes and was in the process of moving from third place into second when it pitched violently upward, rolled and then headed straight down.

From the photos he took, O'Brien said it looked like a piece of the plane's tail called a "trim tab" had fallen off. He believes that's what caused the plane's sudden climb.


When the aircraft hit the ground, there was a "big explosion but no fire," O'Brien said.

"The propeller (was) spinning very fast, and there was a lot of mass coming down all at once," he said. It was a "very violent impact."
More...
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« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2011, 05:07:34 PM »

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/us/reno-air-show-crash.html?google_editors_picks=true
Death Toll in Nevada Air Show Crash Rises to 9
September 17, 2011

RENO, Nev. — It was, for fans and followers of the high-speed sport of air racing, a sure sign of serious trouble: a vintage P-51 Mustang, a World War II fighter known as the “Cadillac of the Skies,” pitching violently skyward, in a frantic effort by the pilot to gain altitude — and to buy time.
And then, just seconds later, that fight — and the flight — was over, as the plane plunged into a crowd assembled at the National Championship Air Races and Air Show in Reno.
 ::snipping2::
Federal investigators arrived here on Saturday at the site of a deadly accident, which killed at least nine people, including the pilot, and injured dozens of spectators. The Reno police said during a news conference Saturday afternoon that the deaths included seven people who were killed on the tarmac, including the pilot, and two who died at local hospitals.

The accident, a popular annual celebration of all things aerial that draws thousands of spectators, left several victims clinging to life in critical condition, hospital officials here said, including some victims with severed limbs. And while race officials and witnesses suggested that a mechanical error — possibly involving the tail — had caused the crash, others cautioned that determining a cause would take time. “We’re just starting our on-scene phase of the investigation,” said Terry Williams, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board.
 ::snipping2::
Race officials stressed that the accident was the first in the event’s 47-year history to involve spectators, but nevertheless canceled the rest of the five-day air show, which usually includes dozen of events, and puts millions of dollars into the local economy.

The officials identified the pilot as Jimmy Leeward, 74, a real estate developer who had flown in the event many times. According to his Facebook page, Mr. Leeward, of Ocala, Fla., had more than 30 years of flight experience. He was flying a modified P-51 Mustang, a World War II-era fighter nicknamed the Galloping Ghost, and had commented in an interview with Live Airshow TV, a broadcaster of aviation events, that his plane was “as fast as anybody in the field or maybe even a little faster.”
 ::snipping2::
The accident occurred at about 4:20 p.m. at Reno-Stead Airport, a small general aviation outpost in the hills north of the city on a fair-weather afternoon with little wind. It was the last race of the day on Friday, a marquee event noted for its blistering speeds, skilled pilots and low altitudes, with the planes flying as low as 100 feet, often nearly touching the wingtips of other aircraft.

Mr. Leeward was apparently running behind the leaders when disaster struck. “We saw them come through: No. 1, No. 2, and he was 3,” said Jack Reinholz, a retired police officer from Fairfax, Calif., who was watching from a parking lot packed with RVs just south of the airstrip. “And all of the sudden, he pulled straight up.”

R. John Hansman Jr., a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that the aircraft involved in the accident was one of “the fastest piston-engineered planes ever built,” capable of speeds of more than 400 miles an hour, all while pulling their pilots at up to 6 G’s.

Such conditions, he said, can turn fatal quickly. “It’s definitely higher risk than normal flight operations, sort of like race cars versus normal cars,” Mr. Hansman said. “They’re flying very, very close to the ground, so there is very little margin for error.”
 ::snipping2::
One witness, Cameron Mason, an airplane mechanic, said he watched the plane’s impact from a nearby hangar

“He crashed into an area where I was hoping there wouldn’t be a big crowd of people,” said Mr. Mason said, who stood outside a crew area Saturday morning, chain-smoking and shivering. “But there was.”

Mr. Mason said that he and other aircraft mechanics spent the hours after the crash speculating that Mr. Leeward might have suffered a failure of his trim tab, a critical part of the tail’s controls, possibly leading to a more catastrophic failure. “If it flutters enough,” he said, “your flight controls can rip off.”

Theories like that were still conjecture as official investigators combed the wreckage on Saturday afternoon.
More...
Slide Show at Link

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« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2011, 08:57:58 AM »

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/09/18/national/main20107857.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody
NTSB recovers tail parts of Reno crash plane
September 18, 2011

CBS/AP)

RENO - Investigators from the NTSB have recovered and identified a portion of the tail of the plane involved in Friday's crash at the Reno Air Races.

NTSB board member Mark Rosekind told reporters the crater left behind by the impact measures 6-8 feet wide and three feet deep, reports CBS Affiliate KTVN.

The actual crash site is more than an acre large.

Based on the crater's location, it appears the P-51 Mustang went straight down in the first few rows of VIP box seats, or about 65 feet in front of the leading edge of the grandstand, reports KTVN correspondent Kellene Stockwell.

 ::snipping2::
On Sunday, investigators will document the rest of the site for a detailed analysis later. Pictures and video obtained by the NTSB will be transported to its lab in Washington, D.C. on Monday. Rosekind said the NTSB is encouraged by the number of videos and photos available to them. He added it will take some time to review them all.

The death toll rose to nine Saturday as investigators determined that several onlookers were killed on impact as the plane appeared to lose a piece of its tail before slamming like a missile into the crowded tarmac.
Some members of the crowd have reported noticing a strange gurgling engine noise from above before the P-51 Mustang, dubbed The Galloping Ghost, pitched violently upward, twirled and took an immediate nosedive into the crowd.
 ::snipping2::
The crash killed the pilot, Jimmy Leeward, and eight spectators. So far, two have been identified. Michael Wogan, 22, of Scottsdale, Ariz., had muscular dystrophy and was in a wheelchair the VIP section when the plane crashed, the family said Saturday. The Washoe County, Nev., medical examiner identified the other victim as Greg Morcom of Washington State, a first-time spectator at the show, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Organizers of the National Championship Air Races earlier said it appears a mechanical failure with the P51 Mustang was to blame. "Our job is to identify what caused this accident so we can make safety recommendations so it doesn't happen again," says Rosekind.
The rest of the events at the National Championship Air Races are canceled this weekend.
 ::snipping2::
Injuries included major head wounds, facial trauma and limb injuries, including amputations, said Dr. Myron Gomes, chief trauma surgeon at Renown Regional Medical Center.

At a late afternoon press conference, Renown Regional Medical Center representatives said they had over 100 medical-related volunteers come in and offer assistance to those injured.
Chief Trauma Surgeon Myron Gomez said two children were treated for undisclosed injuries after the crash. Many patients suffered head trauma, while others suffered limb loss and are awaiting additional surgery.

Blood donations are now being accepted for crash victims. KTVN reports a three-hour wait to donate.
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« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2011, 01:15:28 PM »

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/US/09/18/nevada.plane.crash/
Some victims of Nevada air race crash identified
September 18, 2011

(CNN) -- Authorities on Sunday identified three victims in Friday's crash at a Reno, Nevada air race.

In all, nine people were killed, including the pilot who was identified previously.

Michael Joseph Wogan, 22, of Phoenix, was attending the 2011 National Championship Air Races with his father as part of a father-and-son vacation, his family said in a statement. His father, William, was "seriously injured," the statement said.

The pilot, 74-year-old Jimmy Leeward, lost control of his vintage plane during the race and crashed into spectators. Reno police said Saturday that seven people died at the scene, including Leeward, and two more died in hospitals. Close to 70 people were injured.

Wogan was diagnosed at an early age with muscular dystrophy, and was wheelchair-bound his entire life. However, said his 19-year-old brother, James Wogan, in the statement, "He was about moving past that and always driven toward independence. Michael liked to get out and travel, and he was so excited about getting on a plane as part of this trip."

Michael Wogan graduated magna cum laude from Arizona State University with a finance degree in May, his family said. He had operated a web development company and was in the process of developing a second business.

Memorial service details were pending, the statement said.

Also identified Sunday were George and Wendy Hewitt, members of Cascade EAA Warbirds Squadron 2. The Hewitts were killed when the plane crashed into the seating area, said R.D. Williams, spokesman for the squadron.
 ::snipping2::
National Transportation Safety Board member Mark Rosekind said investigators are looking at whether the plane's apparently damaged elevator trim tab -- whose breaking apart was captured in a photograph -- played a role in the nosedive crash. Authorities do not know why the aircraft went down.

"We're aware of that, and in fact, a component has been recovered in the area where it was observed, but it's critical at this point to note that we have not identified this component," Rosekind told reporters Saturday. "It will be examined, so we don't know what the component is and whether it came from this particular aircraft."

He said later that investigators had identified and recovered portions of the plane's tail.

A full investigation could take six to nine months, Rosekind said.
 ::snipping2::
At the time of the crash, three NTSB investigators happened to be at the air show -- a common practice -- and one of them has been appointed investigator in charge, Rosekind said.

The board will look at safety oversight and the placement of the grandstands for the air race, Rosekind said.

Investigators are also looking into whether the plane had a black box, Rosekind said, though at this point, he does not believe it had a recording device.

Reno Mayor Bob Cashell told reporters that the air race spectator fatalities were the first in four decades. The Reno Air Race Association was founded in 1964, according to its Facebook page.
 ::snipping2::
Video at Link
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« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2011, 01:21:34 PM »

the 3rd pic shows the tail pf plane missing a part

In pictures
 
Scenes from the Reno air show crash
Published Saturday, Sep. 17, 2011 12:17AM EDT

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/scenes-from-the-reno-air-show-crash/article2169882/?from=2169685
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« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2011, 07:56:27 PM »

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/reno-air-race-crash-scene-shows-horror-14545995
Plane in NV Crash Had 'Radical' Changes to Compete
September 18, 2011

The World War II-era plane that plummeted into an air-race crowd like a missile bore little resemblance to its original self. It was rebuilt for speed, if not for stability.

The 65-year-old "Galloping Ghost" underwent years of massive overhauls that took a full 10 feet off its wingspan. The ailerons — the back edges of the main wings used to control balance — were cut from about 60 inches to 32.

Pilot Jimmy Leeward had said the changes made the P-51 Mustang faster and more maneuverable, but in the months before Friday's crash even he wasn't certain exactly how it would perform.

"I know it'll do the speed," he said in a podcast uploaded to YouTube in June. "The systems aren't proven yet. We think they're going to be OK."

Investigators don't yet know what caused the plane to pitch sharply into the crowd at the National Championship Air Races in Reno, killing nine people, including Leeward, and injuring dozens. They have focused on the "elevator trim tab" — a piece of the tail that helps the aircraft maintain lift and appeared to break off before the crash.
 ::snipping2::
Leeward had said the plane underwent several years of modifications before Friday's race, including lopping five feet off each wing, but he hadn't revealed many of the specifics. In the podcast, he called some of the changes "extremely radical," compared some to systems on the space shuttle and explained that he had increased the plane's speed capabilities to be more like those of a modern fighter jet.

"To control the airplane in the wind, and in different circumstances if anything happens, you need those types of speeds. You need jet speeds," he said.

Leeward was rounding a bend at dizzying speeds Friday when his plane took an oddly upward pitch, narrowly missing the packed grandstand. It then twirled just a few hundred feet off the ground and nose-dived into a section of VIP box seats, blasting out a 3-foot-deep, 8-foot-wide crater in a hail of metal, chairs and body parts.
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Memory cards that may have come from the plane were found at the scene. The Galloping Ghost had a camera that faced outward, and the NTSB said the cards will be analyzed to see if there is any video.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said officials thoroughly vet all aircraft modifications before the planes are allowed to race. Reno Air Race Association technical experts also examine them to ensure they are air-worthy.

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Terry Williams said his agency would look into the oversight of modifications to Leeward's plane as part of its investigation.

"We're not saying they did something right or wrong in this accident," Williams said. "We look at all angles in every accident investigation we do."

Pilot Ray Sherwood of Placerville, Calif., who raced at Reno from 1986 to 2005, said he's convinced that the crash was caused by modifications leading the trim tab to snap off. He said the same problem caused a modified P-51 Mustang to plunge into a neighborhood during the races in 1999, killing veteran pilot Gary Levitz.
Aircraft experts said losing the part could have forced Leeward to yank the plane up too fast, possibly overcorrecting and stalling, meaning the engines would be running but air breaks up over the wings, causing it to lose lift. He probably would have been able to pull out of it safely if he hadn't been at low altitude, they said.

"Assuming the aircraft had no other problems, and assuming the pilot had no problems, if he had enough altitude, you can easily get out of that no big deal ... Matter of fact, the P-51 was designed for that," said Ken Liano, a structural engineer and aircraft consultant. "But that's one of the problems with low-altitude flying: There's no time to correct."

Pilots modify their old P-51s to compete, but the alterations put additional stress on the aircraft, Sherwood said.

"If they are going to go as fast as they can, they have to modify the plane," he said.

Pilots were competing for a total of about $1 million in prize money, but Sherwood said the sport is really about the thrill. He said a P-51 like Leeward's would cost about $2.5 million.

"You can't make any money racing airplanes. It's too expensive to buy and maintain them," Sherwood said. "You do it for the love of the sport."
 ::snipping2::
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« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2011, 08:28:03 PM »

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/19/us-crash-airrace-investigation-idUSTRE78I00S20110919
Nevada wreckage yields memory cards, possibly from downed plane
September 18, 2011

(Reuters) - Federal investigators probing the wreckage of a World War II-era fighter that crashed near the grandstands at a Nevada air race have recovered memory cards that could be from recording devices on the downed plane, officials said on Sunday.

They also said they had found no indication yet that the pilot of the plane sent out a distress call before his sleek silver jet plunged nose-down into the tarmac at the Reno Air Races on Friday, killing nine people.

But the plane, in a development that could help the investigation, had apparently been equipped with an outward-facing video recorder and would have also streamed real-time data to the racing team before the crash.

"This is very significant for the accident investigation," Mark Rosekind, a board member of the National Transportation Safety Board, told a news conference, adding that multiple memory cards and video camera fragments had been found at the crash site.
 ::snipping2::
Federal investigators have said they would focus in part on the plane's tail assembly, although Rosekind said it was not yet determined whether an item found less than a mile from the crash site was a component of the plane's tail.

A photograph of the modified P-51 Mustang in the seconds before it slammed into an airfield at the 48th Annual National Air Championship Races on Friday afternoon appears to show a component of the plane's tail section falling off.
 ::snipping2::
MEMORY CARDS WILL BE ANALYZED

Officials said it was not immediately clear whether the memory cards found at the wreckage were from video or audio recorders belonging to the downed plane, but said they would be analyzed for any useful information on the crash.

Some of the data that may have been streamed to Leeward's team from the plane include information on oil pressure, oil temperature, altitude, velocity, and latitude and longitude.

Rosekind said that while the information would have contained fewer variables than normally found in a plane's black box, it could still be useful for the probe.
 ::snipping2::
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« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2011, 09:36:40 PM »

http://www.thespec.com/news/world/article/596288--former-air-canada-pilot-and-wife-killed-in-nevada-air-show-crash
Former Air Canada pilot and wife killed in Nevada air show crash
September 18, 2011

RENO, NEV. A former Air Canada pilot and his wife were among nine people killed in Nevada after a 1940s-era plane crashed during an air show.

George Hewitt, 60, and his wife, Wendy, 57, were sitting with a group of vintage military plane owners when a P-51 Mustang crashed near a grandstand at the Reno air show Friday, killing them instantly.

The couple reportedly had moved recently from Washington state to Fort Mohave, Ariz., after George Hewitt retired.

He was born in Winnipeg and flew as a pilot with Air Canada for about 40 years.

The Seattle Times reported George Hewitt owned a small post-Second World War plane originally built by the same company that made the P-51 Mustang.
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The Hewitts lived in Washington state before moving to Fort Mohave, Ariz., more than a year ago when Hewitt retired as a Boeing 777 captain with Air Canada, the Seattle Times reported.

His brother said he remained an enthusiastic pilot upon retirement. He and his wife lived in a “fly-in” community, where residents had airplane hangars near their homes, Wayne Hewitt told the Times.

The Hewitts reportedly had four children, all living in British Columbia.
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« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2011, 08:09:23 AM »

http://abcnews.go.com/US/reno-air-race-crash-pilot-eyed-survivors-speak/story?id=14552222
Reno Air Race Crash: Pilot Eyed as Survivors Speak
September 19, 2011

Investigators searching for clues in a stunt plane crash at the Reno Air Race have turned their attention to the pilot, who may have been unconscious when the plane smashed into a crowd of spectators, killing nine and injuring 69.

The World War 2-era P51 Mustang, piloted by veteran stuntman Jimmy Leeward, was traveling as fast as 500 miles an hour when it crashed into the crowd Friday, killing fans seated in the VIP seats on the tarmac. Of the 69 injured and transported to area hospitals, six are still in critical condition and 36 have been treated and released.
 ::snipping2::
Witnesses said that as the P-51 Mustang Galloping Ghost rounded the final clubhouse turn, something dropped off the tail of the plane, and that that may have been what caused the problem.

In one of the final photos taken before the crash, half of a sliver piece of metal -- crucial for the aircraft to maintain balance -- appears to be missing. Investigators said that they recovered a damaged "elevator trim tab" among the debris.
 ::snipping2::
Leeward's age and medical history may also prove relevant to their investigation, according to NTSB officials, while ABC News consultant and former pilot Steve Ganyard said that he is concerned that Leeward was not conscious during the crash.
Air Show Dangers Watch Video
Fatal Crash at Reno Air Race Watch Video
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"There is no pilot's head in that cockpit. It tells me that he was likely unconscious, slumped over the controls," Ganyard said.

National Transportation Safety Board officials said that the airplane had a recording system, and a box containing memory cards was found at the scene of the crash. Investigators say they'll analyze the cards to see if there is any footage that could explain what happened.

NTSB investigators said the plane was outfitted with a forward facing camera, which they were able to recover, along with the memory cards. They say it had a rudimentary data system and that these discoveries together may provide their best answers yet as to what happened in those final moments before the crash.

Investigators say the plane was equipped with a basic flight data system, which was recording real-time velocity, altitude, and engine performance information.

"These could be critical to perform analysis that would allow us to examine certain structural or medical issues based," Mark Rosekind of the NTSB said.

Investigators said that they'll be looking not just at the plane and the pilot, but also the regulations for these air races to determine what, if any, changes might make them safer.
 ::snipping2::
The Washoe County Medical Examiner's Office has completed scientific identification and notification to family members on five of the nine victims from Friday's incident. They are: George Hewitt, 60; Regina Bynum, 53; Sharon Stewart, 47; James Leeward, 74.

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« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2011, 04:23:45 PM »

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/20/us/death-toll-in-air-race-crash-rises.html
Death Toll in Air Race Crash Rises
September 19, 2011

A 10th person died early Monday from injuries suffered when a modified World War II-era plane crashed into spectators during an air race here on Friday, officials said.
Dozens were injured, and at least 15 remained hospitalized Monday, including one person who was in critical condition at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center, the hospital said.

The identities of five of the 10 people who were killed were released Monday by the Washoe County medical examiner’s office.
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On Monday, the medical examiner’s officer released the names of five of the victims: Regina Bynum, 53, from San Angelo, Tex.; George Hewitt, 60, from Bellingham, Wash.; Gregory Morcom, 47, from Stanwood, Wash.; Sharon Stewart, 47, from Reno, Nev.; and Mr. Leeward, the pilot, from Ocala, Fla.
 ::snipping2::
Investigators continued to work Monday and were expected to be at the site for several more days.

A preliminary report of the accident will be posted on the safety board’s Web site on Friday, though the complete investigation would take months to complete and, Mr. Rosekind said, would most likely involve an examination of federal regulations on air races, a duty ascribed to the Federal Aviation Administration.
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