Single-Engine Plane Crash Results in One Death at Reno Air Races

by Sean Griffin

One person is dead after a tragic accident during the annual Reno Air Races in Nevada on Sunday. The racing association’s CEO announced the fatal single-engine plane crash occurred behind a residential area during the races.

Frederick Telling, CEO of the Reno Air Racing Association, said during a press conference that the pilot was killed in the crash. However, the pilot’s name was not released.

In shocking video footage, an aerospace news Twitter page posted the racing accident.

The Aero L-29 Delfín model crashed in Reno around 3:45 p.m. local time, according to the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

“The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate,” the administration said. “The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide additional updates.”

The Reno Air Racing Association confirmed the fatality in a statement posted on Twitter.

Racing Association Releases Statement on Fatal Plane Crash

“All other pilots landed safely and race operations for 2022 have been suspended,” it said. “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.”

Plenty of fans reacted to the news on Twitter.

“Sending my heartfelt condolences to you all,” one person wrote.

Others commented broken-heart emojis, while another commenter expressed disappointment toward the association over the accident.

“Again?” one person wrote, referring to the event’s history of fatal accidents. “Shut it down,” they said.

The association, a nonprofit group which organizes the STIHL National Championship Air Races confirmed “details of the incident that happened today during the Jet Gold Race” on their website.

“We can confirm that only one plane was involved. The National Championship Air Races has suspended all operations for the 2022 event,” it added.

The Reno Air Races began Wednesday and were scheduled to go through Sunday.

The event takes place each September at the Reno Stead Airport a few miles north of Reno, Nevada. Air racing is billed as “the world’s fastest motor sport.” Reno remains one of the only current air-racing venues.

The association is familiar with fatal plane crashes, as the sport remains incredibly deadly and dangerous. In 2014, pilot Lee Behel died in a qualifying race during the event. In 2011, a tragic accident occurred when pilot Jimmy Leeward crashed into stands full of spectators. Leeward and ten spectators died in the incident. Moreover, 66 other spectators suffered injuries.

Back in 2007, three pilots died over a four-day period in three completely separate incidents. Racing became suspended one day in the wake of the accidents. However, it remains to be seen what will happen after the events of this year.