Galloping Ghost crash Reno 2011

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Monty

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Nick,

Thank you very much for that write up. I could picture myself there, feeling the exact same things. People do strange things in circumstances like that. The woman you described was probably in shock. I still think I would have had the same reaction that you had.

I too hope that the bed wetting brigade doesn't shut down the fun. I haven't had a chance to attend Reno yet. I was going to try to make it this year, but circumstances prevented it.

The unlimited's time is short. This will undoubtedly shorten it more. I do have some hope in companies that are producing full sized replicas. The supply of engines is a problem though. Hopefully there will be somebody out there to produce reproduction engines. Of course the cost of doing so will be even more painful than what is currently spent on these planes.

I have done a lot of thinking about why people hate aviation so much. Many of these people have the same reaction to motorcycles or any other dangerous hobby, but a special kind of hatred seems to be directed at aviation. Why the hate? Why is it a tragedy when somebody dies doing something they personally can relate to, but somehow it's different with an airplane? A rally car can mow down an entire row of spectators and it doesn't even make the news. Why should they care if somebody else takes risks that might kill them? The only conclusion I can come to is envy. The people who feel this way are scared to do anything, cowards basically. They hate it that somebody is willing to take risks that they themselves cannot or will not take. It makes them think less of themselves subconsciously. So they hate the activity and the people engaging in it. They want to shut it down to soothe their cowardice. They don't see dedicated people working hard to excel, and testing their efforts against others in a peaceful competition. They see rich playboys recklessly endangering innocent spectators. Never mind that the pilots, and teams would do this even without the spectators, or that the spectators are drawn to the spectacle because of the willingness of the participants to risk all..simply for competition and to excel. That is what makes it worthwhile. Racing, of all types, is one of the best innovations of the human race. A peaceful replacement for war. The competitors do not have to kill each other. They are racing against death and the fates, all of them. It is a team effort. Victory is assured only for one. Death is risked by all.

Instead, the bed wetters would rather we all get prizes and be told how wonderful we are for doing nothing. They are envious, unmotivated cowards. Envy is the most destructive emotion in the human experience, and most of our problems can be directly attributed to it. If the bed wetters do manage shut down all outlets for this very real competitive-emotional need amongst the non-bedwetters, they will eventually be consumed in the upheaval that follows, at which point their bed wetting will be justified.

Thanks again,

Monty
 
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skeeter_ca

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A friend of mine usually goes to the races every year. Sometimes he gets passes to the VIP boxes. I won't know till monday if he was there or not. If he was i hope he is fine.
 

jlknolla

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Well put Monty - the disgusting and ignorant statements being made in the comments section of various 'mainstream' news outlets is chock full of just that - 'rich old white men playing with dangerous toys'. Calls for banning are ringing out from the morons in every corner of the webosphere.

This is why it is so important in my opinion that we take it upon ourselves to act as ambassadors at every opportunity and especially now that we go out of our way to correct and counter the misinformation and yes envy-driven criticisims out there.

I am fine if someone wants to bury their head in their pillow, stay in their house afraid of all the dangers in the world - good for them. But I'll be damned if these fraidy-cats will remove my liberties and freedoms and choice out of their own irrational fear or envy.

I choose to live life fully and enjoy as many of the freedoms we are blessed with as I am able to - too many good men and women have given too much for our freedoms to do any less.
 

Monty

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This is why it is so important in my opinion that we take it upon ourselves to act as ambassadors at every opportunity and especially now that we go out of our way to correct and counter the misinformation and yes envy-driven criticisims out there.

Agreed, Though swimming against the tide of crapulence is tiresome sometimes, I'll do my part. Online comments are disturbing...for anything. The arrogance, and ignorance, coupled with mean spirited hatred is enough to sicken any sentient being. I'm not sure all the monkeys made it down from the tree. They are still up there, screaming and hurling poo in all directions.
 

Topaz

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True... But has there been a spectator fatality in the last decade?
There have never been ANY spectator fatalities at Reno. I dearly hope this isn't the end for the National Air Races there. It's the last one left. I was there in '92, and have been hoping to go back. A friend and I were talking about it for this year, but I couldn't break away from work.
 

Topaz

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I am recommending that those of us who know a little about flying make an extra effort to try and explain the tragic events in Reno to our non-flying friends and family.

Let them know that this was a race, not an airshow.

Let them know that Jimmy Leeward was a businessman, philanthropist and great aviator not some rich, wreckless playboy.

Let them know that Reno has gone to tremendous lengths to balance the excitement of the race with the danger and this is the first major incident in the 48 year history of this event.

Let them know that the Galloping Ghost was an historic raceplane, and that Jimmy was a very experienced and capable pilot.

Let them know that both Jimmy and his mount had been carefully inspected just to be allowed to race, and both were determined to be in fine condition.

We can't let a hyperventilating media and an ignorant public persist in making this about an 'old pilot flying a dangerous old plane' - Jimmy and the Ghost deserve more and it is up to us.
Excellent post. And an excellent idea. People need to know the truth.
 

Topaz

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I was right there, standing 100 feet away. This is my account of what happened that i typed up as a means of closure for myself, to tell my friends what happened. This was written for a non-aviation minded audience so forgive me if it seems a bit basic in the beginning. anway, here goes.
Wonderful write-up nsheryka. Thank you.
 

antero

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The thing i cant get over in my mind is why was there no fire in an impact with that level of energy? I assume the Ghost had a relatively light fuel load on board, but certainly it couldn't be much less than airplanes flying aerobatic routines. One needs to look no further than the videos of the Beast crash of a few weeks ago and the T-28 that crashed yesterday to see the ensuing fire. But there was absolutely no fire in Reno. I am positive that the casualty count is thankfully much lower because of this.
 

Will Aldridge

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I have done a lot of thinking about why people hate aviation so much. Many of these people have the same reaction to motorcycles or any other dangerous hobby, but a special kind of hatred seems to be directed at aviation. Why the hate?
I had a thought on this recently listening to my boss talk about politics in response to a question I asked him. Without going into exactly what i was asking about and potentially opening a can of worms we were talking about the need to control people and the lust for power. In my own humble opinion the reason aviation gets so much attention aimed at squashing it is because aviators are for the most part highly intelligent, driven, and independent individuals who don't blindly follow the herd. For those trying to put everyone under their thumb we must be a very annoying portion of the population.
 

Dana

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... In my own humble opinion the reason aviation gets so much attention aimed at squashing it is because aviators are for the most part highly intelligent, driven, and independent individuals who don't blindly follow the herd. For those trying to put everyone under their thumb we must be a very annoying portion of the population.
Hmmm... and in my experience a disproportionately large percentage of aviators are also into that other thing they want to crush. Amazing (or perhaps it shouldn't be surprising) how many pilots are also gun owners. And mostly they vote Republican...

-Dana (who just got back from introducing a visiting Kiwi to the pleasures of shooting assorted weapons)

Freedom means letting other people do things you don't like.
 

BBerson

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I was right there, standing 100 feet away. This is my account of what happened that i typed up as a means of closure for myself, to tell my friends what happened. This was written for a non-aviation minded audience so forgive me if it seems a bit basic in the beginning. anway, here goes.
"Pushing the limit is a common theme in all of the classes, and as such system failures or overheating engines are quite common. Several times throughout the morning I witnessed pilots engaged in a race execute a “Mayday”; pulling out of the running by climbing high above the course, slowing down by trading some of that high kinetic energy for altitude, giving themselves time to asses their situation."

I was wondering if these experimental race planes have been tested in any way to determine structure soundness before flying over people? Do they test beyond the race speed in a dive for flutter etc.?
BB
 

Radicaldude1234

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A similar trim tab failure:

According to this website Voodoo - 98 NCAR this aircraft, the Voodoo Chile, uncontrollably pulled up at 10Gs and climbed to 9000 ft before the pilot regained consciousness.

Is it me seeing things or is the elevator with the busted trim tab at a different deflection as the one with the intact one? I mean, the sequence of events for that mishap and asymetrical forces on the tail that were able to bend whatever linkage connecting the two elevators might be indicative of the control forces involved...
 

Jan Carlsson

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The thing i cant get over in my mind is why was there no fire in an impact with that level of energy? I assume the Ghost had a relatively light fuel load on board, but certainly it couldn't be much less than airplanes flying aerobatic routines. One needs to look no further than the videos of the Beast crash of a few weeks ago and the T-28 that crashed yesterday to see the ensuing fire. But there was absolutely no fire in Reno. I am positive that the casualty count is thankfully much lower because of this.
My thought on this is that the goast had boiling off cooling, where the radiator was in a "tank" of water that boiled of a mix of water and alcohol, I guess this radiator tank was constantly filled from other larger water tank, not sure excactly how it was designed, but the fact that the goast was having a relative large amount of water that turned into a water mist at impact can have prevented the fire, spectators reported they was sprayed with fuel and water.
Water mist have been started to be more common instead of sprinkler system, especially in restaurant kitchen with deep fryer and on boats, the water amount can be so low that self contained sytem can be installed.
 

litespeed

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I too am amazed no fire followed the impact.

It is possible the atomised mix of water was able to stop the fire igniting, But I am not so sure.



Yes, a atomised mist of water is a good fire suppressant. But with alcohol added and a reasonably large fuel load- that motor would guzzle fuel at race speed. I would not be surprised if he had more than 100 lt on board at impact. I would think the highly atomised mix of water/alcohol and separate fuel in the plume would still be able to access oxygen to ignite.

I would guess some free hydrogen would have also been created due to the impulse of atomising on impact. That would only add to the potential for a fireball.

So, I am truly amazed it didn't go up and take many more lives.

I can only guess that due to the huge speed in a almost vertical dive, and subsequent crater creation was the saving grace. The impact been so contained, threw up a large amount of debris from the crater in a shock-wave. And the shock-wave was enough combined with the water and debris to prevent ignition.

Now this is just a guess.

Otherwise, I have no explanation.

Any other ideas?
 
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radfordc

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According to this website Voodoo - 98 NCAR this aircraft, the Voodoo Chile, uncontrollably pulled up at 10Gs and climbed to 9000 ft before the pilot regained consciousness.

Is it me seeing things or is the elevator with the busted trim tab at a different deflection as the one with the intact one? I mean, the sequence of events for that mishap and asymetrical forces on the tail that were able to bend whatever linkage connecting the two elevators might be indicative of the control forces involved...
In this event all the rivets locking the right elevator to the elevator torque tube sheared...the elevator was just free floating. The plane had to be landed with only the left elevator providing control.
 

bmcj

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The sad fact is that 20 people will come up with 20 completely different conclusions and recommendations, all based on their predispostion regarding aviation. I have no doubt that NTSB will do their typical thorough and factual based analysis without allowing prejudice to influence their findings. One can only hope that the FAA will react to those findings in a sane matter (or have no reaction, if that is what is called for) without succumbing to public and political hysteria. I suspect the two biggest players here in determining the future of the Reno Air Races is the insurance industry (will they be willing to insure future events) and the City of Reno (will they want to lose the huge economic gain that the air races give to the community).

I grieve for the families that lost loved ones, and for the victims who have been maimed by this tragedy. No one goes to an event like this expecting to be injured, but I think most understand that there is some degree of risk, even for the spectators. This event is one of the few that is attended primarily by aviation enthusiast, which explains why the spectators interviewed by the news networks made relatively uniform and level-headed statements, versus the nonsensical ramblings that might have been heard from visitors of a typical community airshow where most of the spectators know nothing of aviation.

Bruce
 

delta

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I have trouble figuring out how a small trim tab could cause a much larger elevator to apply so many g's that quickly. I don't know what I'd do if I had a 51, but I think I'd figure out a way to keep that from happening even if it cost me a couple of mph. Does this happen with other makes also?

Rick
 
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