Nightmare in Reno: At least 75 injured, 25 critically, in air-race disaster; Update: New video added

posted at 8:56 pm on September 16, 2011 by Allahpundit

Sheer horror.

“It’s just like a massacre. It’s like a bomb went off,” said Dr. Gerald Lent of Reno, who witnessed the crash. “There are people lying all over the runway.”

The only thing the Korean War veteran could compare the scene to was combat.

“One guy was cut in half. There’s blood everywhere,” Lent said. “There’s arms and legs. One guy just said ‘hey, there’s another foot over here.”…

“The guy lost control, shot straight up into the air and came down into the people,” Echeverria said. “It hit full force, full throttle.”

Fox News is doing live coverage as I write this and ever more ominous reports at the scene are piling up on Twitter, so here’s your thread. The local medical authority says at least 75 people were injured, 25 critically, but won’t comment on deaths. A local radio station claims at least 12 are dead and 30 critically injured but who knows where those numbers will be in another few hours.

Here’s video of the crash, which also just aired on Fox. There’s no gore but it makes crystal clear how devastating the impact was. Beneath that is another video shot shortly afterward at the scene. As you might expect, there’s some profanity. Stand by for updates.

Update: Here’s the crash from another angle; you can seem some of the debris on the runway towards the end. Profanity here too, needless to say. Click the image to watch.

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a logical argument
keep the change on September 16, 2011

You first.

CW on September 17, 2011 at 12:00 AM

That’s funny. I haven’t even thought of your existence.

keep the change on September 16, 2011 at 11:58 PM

Yet you respond. Must be bored. Tell me how your existence isn’t quite boring?

DarkCurrent on September 17, 2011 at 12:02 AM

Everything is like that. There has to be a judgment made.
keep the change on September 16, 2011 at 11:56 PM

As you were being pwned in the comments by others I noticed that you failed to acknowledge the dearth of previous deaths at these air race/show events, and now in the aftermath of a tragic accident you’re ready to drop the hammer.

So one girl dies at a hockey game, how many deaths would it take before you respond similarly to the air shows? Is not one death a death too many? What if a child were to be killed at a game this year because we failed to take action? OMG.

Bishop on September 17, 2011 at 12:02 AM

I wonder what percent of airline travelers do so for pleasure. We should ban them from those flights. They are unneeded and risky. Oh and leave the kids at home if you do fly for vacations etc. There is just no sense in taking that chance. People can still fly on those “tools” but just for what is absolutely needed.

CW on September 17, 2011 at 12:04 AM

These dangerous events need to be outlawed.

Bishop on September 16, 2011 at 11:56 PM

So an airshow is the same as a car? Or is it the same as a hockey game? Which straw man are you going to stick with, regardless of how many times I illustrate it isn’t?

Is a bullet the same as a baseball? Why ban shooting guns in the streets, when people can throw baseballs in the streets and kill someone with a baseball to the head, right? So really, firing guns and throwing baseballs is the same. And since we don’t ban baseballs in the streets, surely only a socialist nanny stater would suggest banning the discharge of weapons within city limits. That’s not a straw man at all! lol

Is this the level of logic being used here? Of course it is.

keep the change on September 17, 2011 at 12:04 AM

Condolences and prayers to all those affected.

Reading the posts above about necessary vs. non-necessary events and the dangers/risks involved, I was going to mention drinking alcohol as a non-necessary event, but I’m quickly reversing myself on that.

Left Coast Right Mind on September 17, 2011 at 12:06 AM

So an airshow is the same as a car? Or is it the same as a hockey game?

keep the change on September 17, 2011 at 12:04 AM

Actually it can be. If you are using your care for entertainment or to pursue entertainment it is . You know you are going to be “right” so have at it. Being stubborn is not a virtue. Have fun in your safe little world. I will let you back to your little game.

Later.

PS. That response of your to my Nista comment was effin awesome. Thank you. Good night.

CW on September 17, 2011 at 12:08 AM

Is not one death a death too many?

No, it isn’t. If it was, we’d have banned aspirin by now. The hockey game analogy doesn’t work. The scale of death and destruction is not comparable. And scale is everything. Find another one.

Yet you respond

Tiresome. I responded only because you addressed me. Up until that moment, your existence was unknown to me.

keep the change on September 17, 2011 at 12:08 AM

Is a bullet the same as a baseball? Why ban shooting guns in the streets, when people can throw baseballs in the streets and kill someone with a baseball to the head, right

That’s right, which means we need to ban baseballs because they aren’t necessary to our modern society as cars are.

Complaining about a strawman as you prop yours up right next to it might be a sign of something, I’m not sure what exactly, but something.

Bishop on September 17, 2011 at 12:08 AM

PS. That response of your to my Nista comment was effin awesome. Thank you. Good night.

CW on September 17, 2011 at 12:08 AM

Good night. I’m going to bed too.

keep the change on September 17, 2011 at 12:09 AM

I wonder what percent of airline travelers do so for pleasure. We should ban them from those flights. They are unneeded and risky.

CW on September 17, 2011 at 12:04 AM

I wonder what percent of birthday cake eating is for pleasure? People have choked and died on birthday cake you know. Houses have burned down while birhtday cakes were being baked.

Birthday cake should be banned.

DarkCurrent on September 17, 2011 at 12:10 AM

The scale of death and destruction is not comparable. And scale is everything. Find another one.

Ooooohhhh, it’s on a scale.

Tell that to the family of the dead girl, her death is no less tragic than those who died at the airshow today.

But hey as long as you’re talking scale, and as you said scale is everything, at what point does the death toll become important enough to warrant official attention?

Bishop on September 17, 2011 at 12:12 AM

Tiresome. I responded only because you addressed me. Up until that moment, your existence was unknown to me.

keep the change on September 17, 2011 at 12:08 AM

Yet you respond again. You must be caught up in some tiresome, boring cycle. Perhaps what the Buddhists call ‘samsara’?

DarkCurrent on September 17, 2011 at 12:13 AM

Closer? 31 died at Ramstein. Again not to trivialize but have you seen how many people have died at soccer matches around the world? 66 people died in Glasgow during one match when some security fencing gave way and people were crushed, and that’s not the worst of history’s soccer game slaughters.

Soccer games should be outlawed, too many needless deaths over the years.

Bishop on September 16, 2011 at 10:55 PM

This.

And do I need to say it again. Yeah I do. Just about as many people die every year in car accidents as the entire Vietnam war. Outlaw cars. Why don’t you call for that? Oh, too inconvenient?

WitchDoctor on September 17, 2011 at 12:18 AM

Perhaps we should figure out something that is an interest of “keep the change” and ban that. What a nanny state tool.

Aviator on September 17, 2011 at 12:22 AM

You could try banning humanity, at least for the very young, Keep isn’t too fond of either.

Bishop on September 17, 2011 at 12:25 AM

Aviator on September 17, 2011 at 12:22 AM

Might be a tall order. By the sound of it, they don’t eat red meat, salt or sugar and everything in their house is cocooned in layers of bubble wrap.

Left Coast Right Mind on September 17, 2011 at 12:28 AM

Commissioner canceled event indefinitely.

Schadenfreude on September 17, 2011 at 12:31 AM

Ugh, FOX has a headline which references eyewitness accounts of the wounded.

Bishop on September 17, 2011 at 12:32 AM

Hannity was a complete moron on topic tonight. The righties are often bigger squishes than the lefties.

Already aviation is depleted of yougsters signing up to become pilots. Mostly old fogies fly privately.

The government is becoming all intrusive and directive and it’s devastating. No leadership, no individual responsibility and no fortitude, from any quarters.

Schadenfreude on September 17, 2011 at 12:45 AM

I was there, about 200 yards away from the crash site. I keep my plane hangered at Reno-Stead.

A trim tab came off the elevator of the P-51.

All race planes fly pretty much with full nose-down trim, trying to stay low while the plane otherwise would want to climb at that high speed.

When the trim tab fell off down the straightaway, the plane immediately nosed up.

A witness, who is on a crew of another plane, saw the trim tab fall off, and then the tail wheel doors open and the tail wheel extend, because of the very high G force in the sudden climb. He said that the pilot probably blacked out from the high G forces, and another pilot in a crash in previous years in a similar situation broke his neck and was dead before the plane hit.

The pilot may have been dead, or at least lost consciousness, so the plane may have been completely out of control.

fred5678 on September 16, 2011 at 11:08 PM

Back in the late 1970s a legendary New Jersey stunt pilot, Ed Mahler, was practice-flying the night before the big September airshow out on Long Island. One of his biplane’s reinforcing tail-struts blew off in flight, and he landed. The FAA Observer suggested he take the other one off before flying again. He did, and immediately took off again.

I’m sure the FAA Crash Report is online someplace.

Del Dolemonte on September 17, 2011 at 12:55 AM

Who are you to deny them the opportunity to be informed of the risks by ensuring they read a waiver? What harm can come from that?

keep the change

Why do you assume these people are as stupid as you clearly are?

Stop pretending you’re a conservative/libertarian. Every post you make on this issue shows you are neither.

xblade on September 17, 2011 at 1:45 AM

that is what you call ideologically jumping the shark.

keep the change

Dude, you’re practically screwing the shark doggy style.

xblade on September 17, 2011 at 2:01 AM

Any event where the flight path allows an out-of-control aircraft to hit the spectators is an event that should be allowed since people can’t get out of the way in time.

keepthechange

By that logic, we should outlaw sidewalks.

RationalIcthus on September 17, 2011 at 4:00 AM

Perfect example of a strawmen. The intellectual lazy way to make an argument without actually taking the time to think it through. No one is suggesting banning airplanes. But, as in my example, we don’t allow flying metal projectiles to go through our streets, do we?

keep the change on September 16, 2011 at 10:52 PM

See my earlier comment, but yes we do in fact allow large metal projectiles to hurtle down our streets all the time. In fact, I was in one with my children earlier this evening.

RationalIcthus on September 17, 2011 at 4:06 AM

Flyboy

AMEN. I have had the pleasure of meeting Mr Leeward at our local airport here in Ocala, FL when he flew as escort for the B-17 Nine O Nine and the B 24 Witchcraft (All American).

To the person that an airplane can fly without a trim tab maybe true but a trim tab suddenly coming off at 500 MPH is going to have tragic consequences.

My prayers go out to all the families involved.

All who met and/or knew Jimmy Leeward should give thanks for that blessing.

Keep Em Flying

hamradio on September 17, 2011 at 4:14 AM

The car is necessary. And very useful. So anyone making the parallel to banning cars is creating a strawman.

keep the change on September 16, 2011 at 11:28 PM

Reasonable point. Allow me to modify the argument then. Shouldn’t all sidewalks be set back at least 30 feet with fencing between the cards & pedestrians? I mean, you never know when a vehicle moving 45 mph might veer out of control and you wouldn’t have time to get out of the way!

Where’s the straw man?

RationalIcthus on September 17, 2011 at 4:15 AM

The scale of death and destruction is not comparable. And scale is everything. Find another one.

keep the change

Actually, Left Coast Right Mind’s idea was a pretty good one. Alcohol consumption is completely voluntary, has no reason to be considered mandatory, and in terms of scale far outstrips (by orders of magnitude) that of an air show. Further yet, the vast majority of victims in the case of alcohol consumption are innocents killed or injured in drunk driving accidents, or are victims of domestic abuse.

So let’s see… involuntary participation on the part of the victims, scale is considerably larger, those who perpetrate the atrocities are voluntary consumers. Yeah, by your logic we should ban alcohol sales entirely.

RationalIcthus on September 17, 2011 at 4:22 AM

I wish the term “strawman” could be outlawed.

jazzmo on September 17, 2011 at 8:13 AM

Heartbroke over this.

bernzright777 on September 17, 2011 at 8:13 AM

American Exceptionalism: Live on the edge and push the limit.

Pansy beta-types and their thumb sucking regulations.
There should be a law … every American citizen should grow a pair.

kregg on September 17, 2011 at 8:24 AM

Oh, crap.
My dad used to take me to the Reno Air Races when I was a kid. As old as that pilot was, there’s a good chance I saw him fly decades ago.

Count to 10 on September 17, 2011 at 8:32 AM

Wait, wait, there are people who want to ban the air races because of this? Are you kidding?

Count to 10 on September 17, 2011 at 8:38 AM

Brilliant argument. Thanks for playing.

keep the change on September 16, 2011 at 11:09 PM

Even after this tool admits he is using a tragedy to play his game of trolling, y’all continue to give him the attention he craves for another page?

I’m sorry this happened, sorrier for folks like keep the change, but happy that I went to bed instead of keeping up in real time this fool’s sidewalk sermon.

No matter how he plays it, he is a nanny state big government supporter

His moniker is not a play on Obama, but a homage to the truther screed “Loose Change”.

Screw (loose) keep the change and remember this next time he baits y’all.

cozmo on September 17, 2011 at 8:50 AM

For “Keep the Change” and anyone else who thinks these kinds of events should be done away with…
There is no need to compare it to anything else. The people who attend and who take their children know it is a dangerous sport. They know planes can crash. That is their risk. End of story.

Deanna on September 17, 2011 at 9:49 AM

that is what you call ideologically jumping the shark.

keep the change

Dude, you’re practically screwing the shark doggy style.

xblade on September 17, 2011 at 2:01 AM

After I laughed, I started to feel a bit ill at how inappropriate this discussion has become. Sometimes this site gets to be too much for me. I think I’d better take a break.

ElectricPhase on September 17, 2011 at 10:52 AM

All life is a risk. Though I now have a fear of flying, I used to try and get a ride in every type of aircraft. My favorite one was the Concorde.

I am lucky to be surrounded by great “working” air museums. I get to see Fifi (last flyable B-29) and Ole’ 927 (ex-Diamond Lil, early model B-24) all the time. Liberty Belle visited Cavanaugh a lot.

Both Mars water bombers were here to fight the latest round of fires, but I missed them.
cozmo on September 16, 2011 at 9:47 PM

Know what you mean. After working in QC for years and seeing the crap that gets pencil-whipped, especially by 3rd world customers on a cheapskate budget, I was more or less scared to fly again for about 10 years. Eventually got over it, only in the sense that when it’s time to go, you have no say in it. LOL. It’s been another 10 years of having to fly business trips, and I still get a little twinge, wondering if this is it, but only for a moment and life goes on.

AH_C on September 17, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Just cut to the chase: Ban freedom. Then all these needless deaths will stop…

“Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.” — Thomas Jefferson

DrDeano on September 17, 2011 at 12:13 PM

At any rate, too many people have died needlessly at airshows over the years.

keep the change on September 16, 2011 at 10:44 PM

So, you’re all for banning private automobiles, then?

And you would agree that the only safe mode of transportation that should be allowed is public transportation in/on electric busses driven by “trained professionals” no older than, say, 25.

Of course, stairs might be a problem – but I’m sure the nanny-staters can find a way to outlaw stairs.

Solaratov on September 17, 2011 at 1:08 PM

The car is necessary. And very useful. So anyone making the parallel to banning cars is creating a strawman.

keep the change on September 16, 2011 at 11:28 PM

So, NASCAR is a necessity?

You don’t seem to understand that racing anything (with the possible exceptions of turtles and roaches)isinherently dangerous; and people get killed being spectators at any races — cars, go-carts, motorcycles, airplanes, boats. And people have died at foot-races, such as marathons and Iron Man contests.
Should we just outlaw all competition on the grounds that it might save one life? (Especially that of the chilllllldreeeeen!)

Just get rid of the privately-owned automobile and save about 50,000 innocent lives every year.

Solaratov on September 17, 2011 at 1:35 PM

So someone is still flogging the car strawman? So a car is the same as an airshow? Hmm. Not only is it a straw man, it is an illogical one at that. An airshow is an event, a car, like a plane, is an object.

You do see the problem with that strawman, right?

keep the change on September 16, 2011 at 11:32 PM

INDY is an object, not an event? Daytona? Le Mans?

You just keep getting sillier and sillier with each post – or, perhaps it’s more desperate. Ah, well. You nanny-staters are all alike.

Solaratov on September 17, 2011 at 1:40 PM

I’ve already dealt with this non-sequitor. A car is a tool. An airshow is not. It is an event. For your argument to have any application to this line of attack, I’d have to be arguing for the ban of airplanes.

Please try to do better. It’s getting late and I don’t mind responding to an effective argument, but this is not it.

keep the change on September 16, 2011 at 11:52 PM

Then you’re for banning all NASCAR events.
It took you long enough to clarify that.

Solaratov on September 17, 2011 at 1:49 PM

For “Keep the Change” and anyone else who thinks these kinds of events should be done away with…

There is no need to compare it to anything else. The people who attend and who take their children know it is a dangerous sport. They know planes can crash. That is their risk. End of story.

Deanna on September 17, 2011 at 9:49 AM

According to a news report I heard this morning, this was the first time ever that spectators have been killed at the Reno Air Races. And they have been going on for half a century.

Del Dolemonte on September 17, 2011 at 1:50 PM

that is what you call ideologically jumping the shark.

keep the change

Dude, you’re practically screwing the shark doggy style.

xblade on September 17, 2011 at 2:01 AM

Nah. He’s just dry-humpin’. Nanny-staters don’t actually do the real deed.

Solaratov on September 17, 2011 at 2:02 PM

I’ve been to the air races twice. They are fantastic events for pilots and inspirational for wanna be pilots. I got to meet all kinds of great flyers there. Loved it all.

Everybody knows there’s a risk.

I hope they are allowed to continue after this- it’s worth it.

Allahs vulva on September 17, 2011 at 3:35 PM

I’m at an ANG Airshow in Martinsburg, WV and we just had a T-28 go down in front of crowd. Pilot was killed, no other injuries.

dddave on September 17, 2011 at 4:04 PM

I’m at an ANG Airshow in Martinsburg, WV and we just had a T-28 go down in front of crowd. Pilot was killed, no other injuries.

dddave on September 17, 2011 at 4:04 PM

Just saw some pictures of that-it exploded in a fireball on contact, unlike the plane in Reno yesterday.

Del Dolemonte on September 17, 2011 at 6:45 PM

I saw a close-up (or cropped telephoto) of the Galloping Ghost P-51 in its final vertical dive and I noticed two things: pilot was not visible, and the tailwheel was down.

I too think the loss of an elevator trim may tab have resulted in enough G’s to incapacitate the pilot, not to mention the possibility of the stick smashing back at him. Not being familiar with the cockpit of a P-51, I don’t know if it could strike him or not. Analysis of the videos should allow the G-forces to be calculated.

But I am puzzled how the pilot could not be visible – presumably he was wearing a 5-point harness, and from my days of aerobatic flying I can tell you that when you have it cinched tight (which I did for aerobatics, and assume an air racer would too), you are not going to slump over.

drunyan8315 on September 17, 2011 at 8:22 PM

drunyan8315 on September 17, 2011 at 8:22 PM

The tailwheel extension and the pilot not visible are likely both due to high positive G. In one photo there appears to be fuselage deformation. This may have been a flutter incident.

Aviator on September 17, 2011 at 10:03 PM

fred5678 on September 16, 2011 at 11:08 PM

et al: “trim” tabs are excactly what the word defines…..trim, not control, as such they are set to achieve a neutral load on the control inputs (elevator/rudder/ailerons)which allows the pilot static axis loading (aircraft will tend to fly straight & level w/hands off). Any failure of the tabs will not result in inrecoverable flight.

dmann on September 17, 2011 at 10:39 PM

This is a tragic event and may the killed RIP and the injured recover quickly.

But banning Airshows is not the answer.

Here is a stat that no one outside the aviation business could match ….”Only” 3 airplanes I worked on have crashed. (no one was killed and the pilots ejected with no injury/require back surgery in each crash).

Due to thing thing called gravity airplanes are always fighting and sometimes gravity wins.

The talk about shutting down airshows “because they are dangerous” is complete BS and needs to be stopped.

F15Mech on September 18, 2011 at 12:17 AM

Khobar Towers killed 19

The F15s I worked on killed 0

F15Mech on September 18, 2011 at 12:22 AM

et al: “trim” tabs are excactly what the word defines…..trim, not control, as such they are set to achieve a neutral load on the control inputs (elevator/rudder/ailerons)which allows the pilot static axis loading (aircraft will tend to fly straight & level w/hands off). Any failure of the tabs will not result in inrecoverable flight.

I can’t speak to the practice of this individual pilot, but I know that many show pilots have a fair amount of trim “rolled in” when flying low and fast, requiring 10+ pounds of force on the stick, NOT a “neutral condition.” This gives them a more positive feel for the aircraft. If the pilot had a lot of nose-up trim requiring several pounds of back-pressure and the trim tab departed, the result would be the stick slamming back into your lap, a high-G pullup and almost immediate accelerated stall.

The canopy on this aircraft is very cut-down, from many angles the pilot’s head would not be visible, as he’s just barely peeking out over the instrument panel anyway.

Prayers for the families of those killed, and for the injured.

There will of course be calls for banning this “fastest of all motorsports” but first, ask how many spectators have been injured or killed at NASCAR events, dirt-track races, or even Junior Motocross events?

skydaddy on September 18, 2011 at 11:32 PM

For those on this thread who appreciate aviation history, check out this museum in Virginia Beach, Virginia. WWI aircraft air show October 7-9. Warbirds Over the Beach (WWII aircraft) in May 2012.

SicSemperTyrannus on September 19, 2011 at 2:16 PM

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