Two pilots were killed on Sunday when their planes collided in midair during an air race in Reno, Nev., authorities said.
The aircrafts — a North American T-6G and North American AT-6B — crashed around 2 p.m. local time during the final day of competition at the National Championship Air Races. Only the pilots were on board at the time of the collision, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The Reno Air Racing Association identified the two pilots as Nick Macy and Chris Rushing, who died while attempting to land at the end of their race. Both their families have been notified. The remainder of the races were cancelled on Sunday.
“I am completely devastated and heartbroken today. These two pilots weren’t just an integral part of the National Championship Air Race family, they were a part of my family,” said Fred Telling, chairman of the Reno Air Racing Association.
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According to the T-6 Racing Association, Macy was from Tulelake in northern California and flew a North American T-6G named “Six Cat.” Rushing was based in Van Nuys in southern California and piloted a North American AT-6B named “Baron’s Revenge.”
The tragic incident occurred on the last day of the famed air races, which were being held for the last time ever this year in Reno. The competition took place at the Reno-Stead Airport for 59 years, but the airport said it will no longer host the event “citing the region’s significant growth amongst other concerns,” the Reno Air Racing Association Board of Directors said back in March.
Over the years, Reno air races have had a history of collisions. Before this weekend’s crash, at least 32 people, many of whom were pilots, died at the event since 1972, according to the Reno Gazette Journal.
The most deadly crash was in 2011, when an aircraft lost control and plunged into the ground near a seating area, killing one pilot and 10 spectators. Dozens of others were injured.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it is investigating Sunday’s crash, along with the FAA and local authorities.
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