Tragedy at the Reno Air Races Friday, September 16, 2011

Jimmy Leeward Pilot, Galloping Ghost, Race 177 - Photo taken 9/14/10 by Andy Martin

At approximately 4:20 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16, during Unlimited Class Gold Heat, the P-51 Mustang “Galloping Ghost,” piloted by Jimmy Leeward, crashed into the box seat area in front of the main grandstand.

Jimmy Leeward & Galloping Ghost, 2011 - Photo taken 9/15/11 by Andy Martin

It was a mass casualty situation and local emergency personnel were on the scene immediately.  All aspects of the horrific situation were handled swiftly and professionally by the Reno Air Racing Association (RARA) staff.  The Executive Committee, Police Chief, Fire Marshall officials, FAA, NTSB, Reno Mayor and Nevada Governor were convened in the media center to review the situation and prepare official statements.

Mike Houghton, CEO and President of RARA gave two press conferences and extended his deepest sympathies and condolences to all of the families involved in the tragic accident.  “The Air Races are truly one big family and our thoughts are with all of our aviation family members, immediate and extended.” – just some of the official comments provided in last night’s press conference.

Because of this very sad time this is all I can say… For now, you may view the second press conference video from last night here.  (sorry, wordpress is upgrading their system so we can’t upload the video press conference until Monday, September 19, 2011) 

Later I will post many beautiful photographs taken by many of my fellow photographers.

My deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones and to the family of Jimmy Leeward.

Kimberley West, WarBiordBabe

Six Weeks and Counting Race Fans!

We’re almost at the starting Pylon for the Reno Races! Six more weeks to go!
Pilots have completed the Pylon Racing Seminar and are preparing their aircraft to fly with precision and speed. Race teams are communicating weekly, probably waiting for parts to arrive and planning their strategies to move up in the pack or continue their winning streak.

Fans are you ready for a Spectacular 2010 Air Race?!? I for one have been waiting anxiously for the last 11 months! A lot has happened this last year keeping our Blog lean – however, our favorite race event is almost here, excitement is building and there is much to share from last year’s race season.

For this 2010 Race year, we plan to bring more videos and interesting interviews to the site providing more behind the scenes workings of the race pilots, crews and the meticulously run logistics of the Reno Air Racing Association staff and associated participants.

Be sure to send your questions and requests to us early! We’ll do our best to get the interviews you want, the pictures you love and commentary from participants and the Living Legends we are blessed to have with us at the races!

All the best to our Pilots, Crews and Racing Association Staff for a terrific 2010 Race Season in Reno!

Good Luck and God’s Speed!
Kimberley West, WarBirdBabe

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 – Qualification Day Three!

Girlie Men Eat Rice!

Girlie Men Eat Rice!

Spirits are high and the atmosphere is electric here at Stead Air Field in Reno.  The weather couldn’t be better, pilots and crews are making final adjustments to their engines and those who have completed their qualifications are sitting pretty, buffing and polishing their birds. 

The RARA (Reno Air Racing Association) Staff are busy with the enormous logistical tasks required to ensure the air field is in tip-top shape, the race pilots on track, pylon judges assigned, air show and performers practiced and scheduled, volunteers and vendors in place, escorts for the VIP’s, security measures, etc., etc., all so that the loyal Racing Fans (all 210,000 of you) will have a fantastic and safe event!

Good Luck and Godspeed!

Kmberley West, WarBirdBabe

Here are a few photos from Qualification Day Three at the Reno National Championship Air Races!

Pilot "Hoot" Gibson of Riff Raff, Race #99

Pilot "Hoot" Gibson of Riff Raff, Race #99

Spinning Prop Race #99

Spinning Prop Race #99

Blue Angels & Race Jets

Blue Angels & Race JetsBlue Angels CrewBlue Angels #7 Test Flight Landing w/ P51