RENO, Nev. — Two pilots died when their vintage planes collided in front of tens of thousands of spectators Sunday at the National Championship Air Races in northern Nevada, cutting the final day of the event short.
Chris Rushing of Thousand Oaks, California, and Nick Macy of Tulelake, California, died after competing against each other in T-6 Texans, planes that were used to train pilots in World War II and into the 1970s. It marked the second-straight year where a pilot died at the event, and at least the third deadly crash there since 2011. Overall, though, crashes are rare for the course.
Here is a look at some recent fatal crashes in the U.S. and abroad involving vintage aircraft:
- July 29, 2023: Four people died in two separate crashes related to a Wisconsin aircraft convention. Devyn Reiley, the daughter of two-time Super Bowl winner Bruce Collie, went down in Lake Winnebago on July 29 in a T-6 Texan that also killed a 20-year-old passenger. Later that day, a helicopter and gyrocopter collided in midair over a runway at the convention, which killed two and injured two others.
- Nov. 12, 2022: A P-63 Kingcobra fighter plane collided with a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber at a Dallas air show, killing all six people aboard the two vintage aircraft.
- Sep. 19, 2022: Pilot Aaron Hogue appeared to have trouble with his jet before it crashed into the ground and burst into flames at the Reno Air Races. The crash occurred on the final day of the 2022 event, in the T-6 gold competition — the same race where the September 2023 crash occurred.
- Oct. 2, 2019: A four-engine, propeller-driven B-17G Flying Fortress bomber with 13 people aboard crashed at Bradley International Airport, north of Hartford, Connecticut, during a traveling vintage aircraft show. Seven people were killed and six were hurt. The National Transportation Safety Board found that pilot error was the probable cause, with inadequate maintenance a contributing factor.
- Nov. 17, 2018: A privately owned vintage World War II Mustang fighter airport plane crashed into the parking lot of an apartment complex in Fredericksburg, Texas, killing the pilot and a passenger. The P-51D Mustang was returning after performing a flyover during a living history show at the national Museum of the Pacific War. The aircraft was destroyed, and several vehicles in the parking lot were damaged.
- Aug. 4, 2018: A 79-year-old Junkers Ju-52 plane operated by the Swiss company Ju-Air plunged into the Piz Segnas mountain near the Flims ski resort in eastern Switzerland, killing all 20 on board. Retired from Switzerland’s air force in 1981, the German-built plane was carrying tourists who wanted to take “adventure flights” to experience the country’s landscape in vintage planes. Swiss investigators said that “high-risk flying” by the pilots led to the crash.
- May 30, 2018: A small vintage airplane that was part of a GEICO stunt team with five other planes crashed in a wooded residential area in Melville, New York, killing the pilot. The World War II-era SNJ-2 aircraft, known as a North American T-6 Texan, had departed from a nearby airport and was heading to Maryland when it crashed.
- July 16, 2017: A pilot and an airport manager were killed in Cummings, Kansas, after their World War II-era P-51D Mustang “Baby Duck” crashed into a field. Authorities say the pilot was re-creating a stunt he had performed on the prior day at the Amelia Earhart Festival.
- Jan. 26, 2017: A World War II-era Grumman G-73 Mallard flying boat stalled and nosedived into the Swan River in Perth, Australia, during Australia Day celebrations. Both the pilot and his passenger died.
- Aug. 27, 2016 — A pilot from Alaska was killed when his 450 Stearman biplane, a World War II-era plane often used for military training, crashed during the Airshow of the Cascades in Madras, Oregon.
- July 17, 2016 — A T-28 Trojan, used by the U.S. military as a training aircraft beginning in the 1950s and also as a counterinsurgency aircraft during the Vietnam War, crashed at the Cold Lake Air Show in Alberta, killing the pilot. Thousands of spectators witnessed the accident.
- Aug. 22, 2015 — A 1950s-era Hawker Hunter T7 jet crashed into a busy highway near West Sussex, England, killing 11 and injuring more than a dozen others. Investigators said the pilot, who survived, was flying too low and slowly to successfully complete a loop-the-loop. He was charged with 11 counts of manslaughter but ultimately was cleared.
- June 22, 2013 — A pilot and a wing-walker were killed when their World War II-era Boeing-Stearman IB75A biplane crashed into the ground and burst into flames during a performance at the Vectren Dayton Air Show in Vandalia, Ohio. Thousands of spectators saw the crash, which federal safety investigators said was likely caused by pilot error.
- Sept. 16, 2011 — The pilot of a 70-year-old modified P-51D Mustang called the Galloping Ghost lost control of the aircraft at the National Championship Air Races and Air Show in Reno, Nevada, and crashed into spectators, killing 11, including the pilot, and injuring more than 60. Federal investigators blamed the crash on worn parts and speed.