2 planes collide at Reno Air Show in US, both pilots killed

Aviation investigators are trying to figure out what led up to a mid-collision that killed two pilots who were landing after a race at a Nevada air show.

Reno Air Racing Association officials say the planes collided at the conclusion of the T-6 Gold Race Sunday. The crash took place during the last time Reno will ever host the National Championship Air Races.

The two planes, a single-engine North American T-6 G and a single-engine North American AT-6B, collided as they were in the process of landing.

“Right as I looked up within two seconds, the planes collided; one plane went into the other plane,” said a witness.

The Reno Air Racing Association identified the two people killed as Nick Macy of Tulelake, California and Chris Rushing of Van Nuys, California. Both are described as expertly skilled pilots and Gold Winners in the T-6 Class.

“Until you are safely on the ground and the engine is turned off, there is always risk somewhere,” said Scott Miller, an aviation expert and a lecturer at San Jose State University.

Miller says this collision happened during a low-stress phase of the race, which is why the loss is so shocking.

“A lot of people thought it was during the race itself,” said Miller. “I initially did, because that's the high-threat area.”

Now the focus turns to grieving and mourning but also to the investigation.

“That will be the next step, collecting the interviews, talking to the other pilots who were involved in the race that were also maneuvering to land and then try to develop the picture of what occurred,” said Miller. “Did they have each other in sight? Were they maneuvering visually, what their sequences were for landing — determining that information will be next.”

This is the latest deadly plane crash at the Reno Air Races. In 2022, a pilot died after a crash during the third lap of the Jet Gold Race.

Since the race started in the 1960s, the Reno Gazette Journal reports there have been more than 20 crashes resulting in deaths.

An infamous incident happened in 2011, where 11 people, including the pilot, died and dozens of others were injured as the plane slammed into a seating section.

“Not any pilot can just jump in an airplane and start doing the racing,” said Miller. “There is a very involved training and checking process that pilots and the crews must go through before they are allowed to race at the races.”

Miller says people flying and those watching are dedicated to the profession. Air shows usually introduce people into the Aviation industry, but safety continues to be the number one concern.

“As long as we are able to do it safely, I think we will be able to preserve that for many generations to come,” said Miller.Authorities said no other injuries were reported on the ground.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will be conducting a thorough investigation into the crash.

Two pilots were killed on Sunday after their planes collided during the National Championship Air Races and Air Show in Reno, Nevada region of the US, CNN reported citing organisers of the event.

Around 2.15pm on Sunday, at the conclusion of the T-6 Gold race, upon landing, two planes collided and it has been confirmed that both pilots are deceased, the Reno Air Racing Association said in a statement posted on Facebook.

In a later statement, organisers identified the pilots as Nick Macy and Chris Rushing, the CNN reported.

Both expertly skilled pilots and Gold winners in the T-6 Class, Macy piloted Six-Cat and Rushing flew Barons Revenge, the statement said.

Families of both pilots have been notified and support services are on site as they deal with this tragedy. No other injuries were reported, it said, adding the remainder of the races were cancelled.

In a statement, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration, said it is carrying out an investigation to find the cause of the crash, CNN reported. The agency identified the two aircraft as North American T-6G and North American AT-6B and said they had just completed the race.


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