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Fatal jet crash brings suspension of airplane championships in Reno

Updated September 19, 2022 - 11:42 am

A fatal jet crash occurred at the National Championship Air Races in Reno on Sunday.

Race officials suspended operations, and announced later that one pilot was killed and all other racers landed safely.

The cartwheeling crash in the Jet Gold Race ignited a brush fire near the Reno-Stead Airport.

“At this time we are gathering information and confirming details of the incident that happened today during the Jet Gold Race,” stated a tweet from the Reno Air Racing Association. “We can confirm that only one plane was involved. The National Championship Air Races has suspended all operations for the 2022 event.”

The association later confirmed the fatality. “We express our deepest sympathies to the pilot’s family and friends as well as racers and race fans who make up our September family,” it said in the tweet.

The identity of the pilot killed in the crash had not yet been officially released Sunday night.

“No name will be released until next of kin have been notified,” said Bryan Samudio, a spokesman for the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office in Reno.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, which is common procedure for all air crashes.

The annual event also was the site of another fatal crash in 2011.

On Sept. 16 of that year, The Galloping Ghost, a highly modified North American P-51D Mustang racing aircraft, piloted by Jimmy Leeward crashed into the box seats and killed 10 people as well as Leeward. Nearly 70 other people were injured.

A moment of silence was held on the one-year anniversary of the crash for Leeward and the 10 spectators who died.

In addition, there was a fatal crash in 2008 and three fatal accidents in 2007.

Contact Marvin Clemons at mclemons@reviewjournal.com. Follow @Marv_in_Vegas on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Brett Clarkson contributed to this report.

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