A year after a crash killed 11 and injured more than 70, the Reno Air Racing Assn. is planning to modify its race course to keep its fastest planes away from spectators, officials said Tuesday.
Association director Mike Houghton said the group will ask federal regulators for permission to shift the largest course away from the crowd and to soften some of the curves. Houghton made his announcement as a panel appointed by the group released its list of safety recommendations.
The association will hold its 49th annual National Championship Air Race beginning Sept. 12 at Reno Stead Airport. During last year’s race, Jimmy Leeward, 74, crashed his World War II-era P-51 Mustang into the box seats in front of a grandstand. Leeward and 10 spectators were killed and more than 70 people were injured in the Sept. 16 accident.
The crash was investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, which found that the plane, named the “Galloping Ghost,” had been modified to increase its speed. The board issued seven safety recommendations, focusing on race course design and layout, pre-race technical inspections, aircraft modifications and airworthiness.