Turbulence Blamed For Deadly Crash At Reno Air Races

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Turbulence from another aircraft caused a crash that killed a Wyoming pilot at the Reno National Championship Air Races last September, a federal agency concluded.

A National Transportation and Safety Board investigation found that Brad Morehouse, 47, of Afton, Wyo., flew into the wake of a jet just ahead of him and had little time to recover from the turbulence before he crashed.

The NTSB has not yet released reports about the cause of two other deadly crashes at last year's air races.

Morehouse was flying an Aero Vodochody L-39C at a low altitude
when it rounded a pylon, rolled to the right and then hit the ground, the NTSB report said.

Morehouse's jet was immediately behind a T-2B Buckeye jet that was leading near the end of the first lap.

Michael Houghton, CEO and president of the air races, said the Sept. 13 crash has prompted the event to add more training for pilots on how to avoid aircraft turbulance.

The races are like a car race in the sky, following an oval path over the airport runway and around pylon markers at various distances and within a few hundred feet of the ground.

"It is an extremely short amount of time that they have to react in order to correct successfully," Houghton told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

He said the NTSB's findings were consistent with what race officials had earlier concluded about the cause of the crash.

Also last year, Formula One racer Gary Hubler of Caldwell, Idaho, was killed when his plane clipped the tail of another plane and crashed during a heat race. Biplane racer Steve Dari of Lemon Grove, Calif., was killed when his aircraft engine stalled during a test lap.

Last year was the first time since 1993 there had been more than one fatal crash at the races the same year. There have been 18 fatalities in the 44-year history of the event.
Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, http://www.rgj.com

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-05-16-08 1235EDT