The Reno Air Racing Association (RARA) on Sunday canceled the final edition of its annual National Championship Air Races after two aircraft collided at about 2:15 p.m. PDT during the recovery period following the T-6 Gold Race. RARA earlier said racing at the Nevada event was on hold following the accident but indicated it might resume.
The organization also identified the two pilots who died in the accident. They are Nick Macy, who piloted Six-Cat and Chris Rushing, who flew Baron’s Revenge. RARA said both were “expertly skilled pilots and Gold winners in the T-6 Class, Families of both pilots have been notified and support services are onsite as they deal with this tragedy.” There were no additional casualties on the ground, the group said.
RARA said it decided to end the event after discussing the situation with the pilots’ families and representatives of the race classes that had not yet completed all of their scheduled races. A competitor in the Unlimited Class told FLYING that a vote was taken by a show of hands and only three people indicated they wanted to keep racing.
“I am completely devastated and heartbroken…,” said Fred Telling, chairman of RARA and president of the T-6 Class. “These two pilots weren’t just an integral part of the National Championship Air Race family, they were a part of my family. My heart goes out to their own families and to all of the spectators and fans who have so enthusiastically supported us this week.”
RARA said it is cooperating with the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the accident.