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NTSB Updates Reno Air Race Investigation


P-51D Galloping Ghost

April 10, 2012 - The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) provided an investigative update today on last year's crash of a highly modified P-51D airplane at the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada.

On September 16, 2011, the pilot of the Galloping Ghost - longtime EAA board member and air racer Jimmy Leeward - experienced an upset while turning between pylons 8 and 9 on the race course. The airplane crashed on the ramp in the box seat spectator area. Leeward and 10 spectators were killed and more than 60 others were injured.

In addition to the investigative update, NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman announced that the agency was issuing a total of seven safety recommendations to make the National Championship Air Races a safer event for pilots and spectators alike.

"We are not here to put a stop to air racing," Hersman said. "We are here to make it safer."

The safety recommendations address race course design and layout, pre-race technical inspections, aircraft modifications and airworthiness, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidance on air racing, the effects of g-forces on pilots, and ramp safety issues. They were issued to the FAA, the Reno Air Racing Association (RARA), and the National Air-Racing Group Unlimited Division.


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