Posts Tagged ‘Jimmy Leeward’

Reno Unlimited air racer crashes; eight died at the scene, three more in hospitals

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Galloping Ghost, a highly modified and restored North American P-51 Mustang, crashed during an Unlimited category qualifying heat at the National Championship Air Races in Reno. The 500-mph aircraft is operated by the Leeward Air Ranch Racing Team of Ocala, Florida, and piloted by movie stunt pilot and real estate developer Jimmy Leeward of Ocala, Florida.

A YouTube video of the crash was shown on local Reno television station KRNV, the NBC affiliate, in this report. There were more than 60 people treated at hospitals, many of them released. The aircraft crashed 65 feet in front of a box-seat area on flat tarmac in front of the grandstands. A photo shows the area where the aircraft crashed.

The death toll has reached 11, including the pilot and seven spectators at Reno/Stead Airport and three at a local hospital.

Jimmy Leeward describes in this YouTube video the five years of work done to prepare Galloping Ghost for the air races.

UPDATES: A photo of the aircraft just prior to impact raised speculation that perhaps something came off the tail’s horizontal control surfaces. A video offering a different view has appeared on CNN showing the airplane inverted prior to the crash.