Third fatal crash at Reno Air Races
Associated Press Writer
Reno (AP) – Two airplanes collided in the air today (Friday) at the Reno National Championship Air Races, killing one pilot and injuring another in the third fatal crash there in four days.
Five-time defending champion Gary Hubler, 51, Caldwell, Idaho, was killed in the crash shortly after 9:30 a.m. at the Stead Airport just north of Reno, race officials said.
It marked the 18th fatality in the 44-year history of the air races and prompted the suspension of the competition the rest of Friday. Race officials said they did not know whether the event would continue through the weekend as scheduled or not.
The pilot of the other plane involved in the accident, Jason Somes of Simi Valley, Calif., was taken to Renown Regional Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. A friend said he was being treated for an eye injury.
Hubler’s plane apparently clipped the back of Somes’ plane before crashing. Somes was able to land his damaged aircraft, race officials said.
Two judges on the ground also were injured but there was no immediate word on their condition, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported on its Web site. One refused medical treatment, the newspaper said.
Competing in the Forumla One class, Hubler was flying a Cassutt III M single-seat plane named “Mariah,” which is designed for pylon racing and aerial acrobatics.
Hubler started competing in the Reno races in 1984. During Thursday’s first heat, he reached a top speed of 259 mph, according to the air races’ Web site.
Two pilots were killed in separate accidents on Tuesday and Thursday.
Brad Morehouse of Afton, Wyo., was “killed instantly” when his jet crashed about 2:45 p.m. Tuesday, touching off a small brush fire along the runway, said Michael Houghton, president of the air races.
Morehouse, co-owner of Afton Flight Service in Wyoming, was flying an L-39 Albatross he named “Dino Juice,” a jet often used for military flight training.
He was flying in the second heat of the jet class competition. He had finished fourth in Wednesday’s qualifying round, reaching a maximum speed of 504 mph, race officials said.
The cause of that crash was under investigation but race officials said the initial indication was Morehouse may have gotten caught in the wake of a jet he was tailing.
Houghton said he expected the races to resume on Friday.
“I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t race tomorrow,” Houghton told reporters at a news conference at the airport. “That is what Brad Morehouse would have wanted us to do.”
Steve Dari, a pilot from Lemon Grove, Calif., was killed when his biplane stalled shortly after takeoff during a practice run at the air races on Tuesday. His fatal crash had been the first at the races since 2002.
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