September 15, 2007

4 Days, 3 Fatal Crashes At Air Races : More Tragedy When Airplane Collision Kills Pilot At Reno National Championship Air Races

posted by commander cody to other at 12:35 AM - 4 comments

I'm not entirely certain this should surprise anyone. It's always been my feeling the air races, while more exciting, are and always have been more dangerous then auto races. After all, it's not like they can just pull in to the pit when something goes wrong. Still.....I'm thinking this is a sport that is finally ready to come to real national attention.

posted by commander cody at 12:37 AM on September 15, 2007

He leaves behind his parents, wife, son and grandchildren As opposed to taking them with him...

posted by Drood at 05:04 AM on September 15, 2007

Pylon racing has always been one of the most dangerous things that you can do with an aircraft. Collisions are frequent. I'm surprised that there are not more fatalities, but 3 fatal crashes in 4 days is terrible. I read in a recent Smithsonian Air and Space magazine of a new type of air racing. The course is actually laid out by computer and there is no visible course on the ground. Rather, the course is transmitted into the cockpit of each racer, and the pilot follows an "electronic highway". The aircraft take off singly at intervals, and each aircraft follows a slightly different course, but each course involves the same maneuvers. The probability of mid-air collision is greatly reduced. The innovative things about this are that the aircraft are rocket powered, and the amount of fuel allowed is not sufficient to keep the engine lit throughout the entire flight. The pilot must conserve his fuel and use the engine only when required to climb or maintain altitude. The really fun part is that the races will be available on line, and the people at home can actually "fly" their computers through the course.

posted by Howard_T at 10:36 PM on September 15, 2007

As a resident of Reno and longtime fan of the air races, this year was truly horrible. The jet crash on Thursday was directly in front of the grandstand, so thousands knew right away a life had been lost. I stood absolutely nauseated watching the ball of fire. Didn't see any of the others. I guess it's very unlike other racing in that respect (by no means meant to dis race fans), the absolute last thing anyone wants to see in an air race is an accident. The Snow Birds were amazing every day, though, flying a beautiful broken heart pattern for lost pilots on Sat and Sun. R.I.P to some brave men who died doing what they love.

posted by tahoemoj at 03:26 AM on September 18, 2007

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