AP — RENO, Nevada The National Championship Air Races in northern Nevada’s last day were cut short when two pilots perished when their vintage aircraft crashed in front of tens of thousands of spectators.
Nick Macy of Tulelake, California, and Chris Rushing of Thousand Oaks, California both passed away after racing against one another in T-6 Texans, which were used to teach pilots throughout World War II and far into the 1970s. It was at least the third fatal crash there since 2011, and the second year in a row that a pilot perished at the event. Crash rates on the course, though, are generally low.
Here are some recent instances of vintage aircraft tragic crashes in the United States and other countries:
— On July 29, 2023, two accidents involving an aircraft conference in Wisconsin resulted in the deaths of four persons. The T-6 Texan carrying Devyn Reiley, the daughter of two-time Super Bowl champion Bruce Collie, and a 20-year-old passenger crashed into Lake Winnebago on July 29. Later that day, two people were killed and two others were wounded when a helicopter and a gyrocopter collided in the air over a runway at the conference.
— On November 12, 2022, a P-63 Kingcobra fighter jet and a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber collided during a Dallas air show, resulting in the deaths of all six occupants of the two antique aircraft.
— September 19, 2022: At the Reno Air Races, pilot Aaron Hogue’s plane seemed to be having issues before it crashed and caught fire. In the T-6 gold competition on the last day of the 2022 championship—the same race where the September 2023 collision took place—the accident happened.
— On October 2, 2019, a touring historic aircraft exhibition was taking place at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut when a four-engine, propeller-driven B-17G Flying Fortress bomber with 13 passengers aboard crashed. There were six injuries and seven fatalities. The National Transportation Safety Board determined that pilot mistake was the most likely culprit, with poor maintenance playing a role.
— November 17, 2018: The pilot and a passenger were killed after a privately owned vintage World War II Mustang fighter airport jet crashed into the parking lot of an apartment complex in Fredericksburg, Texas. After flying above during a living history performance at the National Museum of the Pacific War, the P-51D Mustang was making its way back. Several cars in the parking lot also sustained damage in addition to the destruction of the airplane.
— Aug. 4, 2018: All 20 people on board were killed when a 79-year-old Junkers Ju-52 aircraft operated by the Swiss business Ju-Air crashed into the Piz Segnas mountain close to the Flims ski resort in eastern Switzerland. The German-built aircraft, which was retired from the Swiss air force in 1981, was transporting visitors who wished to enjoy “adventure flights” in historic aircraft to explore the country’s beauty. According to Swiss authorities, the pilots’ “high-risk flying” caused the tragedy.
— On May 30, 2018, a small antique plane that was traveling with five other aircraft as part of a GEICO stunt squad crashed in a residential neighborhood in Melville, New York, killing the pilot. The North American T-6 Texan, a vintage SNJ-2 airplane from World War II, had just taken off from a neighboring airstrip on its way to Maryland when it crashed.
— July 16, 2017: In Cummings, Kansas, a World War II-era P-51D Mustang “Baby Duck” crash-landed, killing the pilot and the airport manager. According to the authorities, the pilot was repeating a trick he had done the day before at the Amelia Earhart Festival.
— On January 26, 2017, when Perth, Australia, was celebrating Australia Day, a Grumman G-73 Mallard flying boat from World War II stalled and nosedived into the Swan River. The pilot and his passenger both passed away.
— Aug. 27, 2016 — During the Airshow of the Cascades in Madras, Oregon, an Alaskan pilot was killed when his 450 Stearman biplane, a vintage World War II aircraft frequently used for military training, went down.
— July 17, 2016 — The pilot of a T-28 Trojan, which was employed by the American military as a training aircraft starting in the 1950s and as a counterinsurgency aircraft during the Vietnam War, was killed when the aircraft crashed at the Cold Lake Air Show in Alberta. Numerous thousands of onlookers saw the accident.
— Aug. 22, 2015 — Near West Sussex, England, a 1950s Hawker Hunter T7 aircraft crashed, killing 11 people and injuring more than a dozen more. The pilot, who made it out alive, was reportedly flying too slowly and low to safely execute a loop-the-loop. Despite facing 11 charges of manslaughter, he was finally found not guilty.
— June 22, 2013 — While performing at the Vectren Dayton Air Show in Vandalia, Ohio, a World War II-era Boeing-Stearman IB75A biplane crashed and caught fire, killing the pilot and a wing walker. The disaster was witnessed by thousands of people, and government safety officials determined that pilot error was most likely at blame.
— Sept. 16, 2011 — At the National Championship Air Races and Air Show in Reno, Nevada, the pilot of the Galloping Ghost, a modified P-51D Mustang that was 70 years old, lost control of the plane and crashed onto spectators, killing 11 people, including the pilot, and injured more than 60 others. Federal investigators attributed the collision to speed and worn parts.